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Grosvenor Cinema to host 'relaxed' movie screenings for children with autism

Jungle Book kicks off series of 'relaxed' movie screens that will appeal to autistic children and their parents

Parents of children with autism are being invited to a new series of special movie events at the Grosvenor Cinema in Ashton Lane.

The new programme of 'relaxed' film screenings will launch this Sunday (May 15) at 11am with The Jungle Book.

Everyone is welcome, but the showing will be especially suitable for families with children with additional support needs who may benefit from a low sensory experience including reduced volume, low lighting and more freedoms in the cinema.

Movie: The first in the series of 'relaxed' screenings kicks off with Disney's The Jungle Book

The screenings are the result of a collaboration between G1, the cinema's owners, and a campaign group formed by parents at St Charles' Primary School in North Kelvinside, in the West End.

Keep Calm St Charles' is being led by the school to promote greater awareness and understanding of autism and other conditions where anxiety can have a massive impact on a child's life.

Parent Lizanne Conway explained how the partnership came about.

She said: "It came about as I, a parent in the school with a son with autism who loves film, approached G1 to ask if they would consider doing some relaxed screenings to celebrate world autism awareness month.

"I had a very positive response, and actually discovered they were planning to do this, and wanted to develop this offering and crucially find out what families and older adults with autism wanted from a cinema experience.

"As an active parent in our school Keep Calm campaign, we suggested we could help support the cinema staff by promoting the screenings and helping bring the voices of families affected by autism to the fore as so seldom are people asked what would work best."

Screening: Grosvenor Cinema is situated at the heart of bustling Ashton Lane, a popular cobbled thoroughfare of bars and restaurants off Byres Road in the West End.

Grosvenor Cinema says on its website: "Relaxed screenings are film screenings especially for people on the autism spectrum and other learning difficulties or complex needs and their families, friends and carers.

"These screenings are not exclusive, and everyone is welcome to attend; we just ask that you are aware and understanding of the fact that other members of the audience in relaxed screenings may be sensitive to sound and light and might find going to the cinema difficult.

"During relaxed screenings low lights are left on in the auditorium and the volume of the soundtrack is reduced. It is fine for customers to move around, make noise or take a break during the film."

The Keep Calm campaign at St Charles' Primary started in October 2015 largely as a social media Facebook campaign to help parents gain public votes for a competition they had entered to secure £25k of funds, which they wanted to use to create a multisensory room within the school.

St Charles' was the only Scottish school nominated for a community one family foundation award, but despite securing almost 5000 public votes, it came in second place.

Lizanne added: "As a school we had raised so much interest in the campaign that we decided to keep going and consequently launched plan b - this basically involves pursuing other avenues of funds and fundraising for our multisensory room, but more crucially keep raising awareness of autism and other conditions which lead many children to experience anxiety and sensory overload.

"We are delighted to be working with a local business and employers as part of our awareness raising campaign, but also to improve fun opportunities that every family can take part in without stress."

Keep Calm St Charles' can be found on Facebook.

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