Emery Gate’s resident Santa, Nigel Ingles, went back to school this week to learn Christmas themed Makaton sign language.
The Bristol-based course, run by Better Communication Bristol, taught Santa’s from throughout the region, both a greater understanding of the communication challenges some children face in public situations and a bank of basic signs and symbols. With Emery Gate’s Christmas Grotto set to start on the 25th November, Santa was also equipped with the necessary Christmas themed signs to make the grotto experience as enjoy as possible for all children.
Phil Maclean, Retail Marketing Manager at Emery Gate, said ‘Every child needs to tell Santa what they’d like in their stockings, learning some basic signs can transform a grotto experience for a child with communication difficulties and we hope this will go a small way to do that. We are so grateful to Nigel for making such an effort after all these years away from the classroom!”.
Makaton is a language programme designed to provide a means of communication to individuals who cannot communicate efficiently by speaking. The Makaton language programme has been effectively used with individuals who have cognitive impairments, Autism, Down Syndrome, specific language impairment, multisensory impairment and acquired neurological disorders that have negatively affected the ability to communicate, including stroke patients.
The annual Emery Gate Christmas Grotto is set to start on 25th November with all profits donated to local causes. Last year Emery Gate used its profits to exclusively hire Europe’s largest trampoline park, Airhop in Bristol, for students from Poplar College, Chippenham to enjoy.