When I approached Hamleys for help with a charity project I wanted to organise I really wasn’t sure what to expect as a response. I’d recently had an idea for a program of pioneering activities for families and carers of Autism sufferers, that the Charity I work for – London Sports Trust – were willing to add to their program portfolio, I just felt I needed an ambitious project to launch things and an excursion to Hamleys fitted the bill perfectly. I wanted to know if Hamleys were prepared to open their doors just for us.
When I left Hamleys in 2015 to pursue community work, even after working in the Regent Street store for 8 years, I felt that visiting Hamleys was an amazing customer experience and that everyone should have the opportunity to do it at least once in their lifetime. With autism however, no matter where on the spectrum, the prospect of such a visit would probably prove problematic to sufferers and extremely daunting to their families.
To my surprise and delight though the Hamleys store manager, Keane Herman, welcomed the idea with open arms and after a few months of planning Hamleys opened their doors for a special assembly of 10 families and their autistic children to have a VIP opening of the store on Sunday 11th August at 9.30am.
Now, I could spend loads of time going on about what an amazing success the day was but I think it would be more powerful coming from the words and pictures of the families involved themselves.
When a picture paints a thousand words...
Then the words say the rest.