The Entertainer donates 22,000 toys to Big Toy Appeal and dedicates time to its Christmas Quiet Hours to help people with Autism shop in peace

The Entertainer, the fastest-growing, family owned high street toy retailer in the UK, has helped to generate a whopping 22,000 toy donations for The Big Toy Appeal in partnership with the Salvation Army.

Following a difficult year for many families due to Covid-19 and the financial impacts of the virus, The Entertainer asked customers shopping online, and in store (where open), to donate an additional toy to a family in need this Christmas to enable all children to experience the wonder of opening a toy from Father Christmas.

Perhaps acknowledging just how difficult a year 2020 has been and the increased sense of community spirit and support for others – The Toy Appeal online donation  was the retailers best-selling line  on Black Friday kindly marking the warm generosity of The Entertainer’s shoppers.

The toys will now be delivered to The  Salvation Army  and distributed to  families across the country in time to place them under the Christmas tree. 

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman at The Entertainer, said: “We are delighted with the amount of donations we have received for this year’s Big Toy Appeal and we are so grateful to our customers for their generosity. Following a challenging year, many families are experiencing overwhelming difficulties trying to give their children a toy to open on Christmas morning so we are delighted that we could team up with The Salvation Army again and provide some help and happiness for those families most in need.” 

In order to make Christmas shopping accessible for everyone, The Entertainer has also re-introduced its Christmas Quiet Hours taking place every day throughout December in its 171 stores across the country.  The initiative aims to create a calmer shopping environment for autistic people and for any shoppers who find the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping an uncomfortable experience.

Store staff have previously undertaken additional training to help them support customers who may be overwhelmed by the sensory overload that Christmas shopping can be for many.  Whilst other retailers will be turning up the Christmas music and adding flashing lights, The Entertainer will be turning off its Christmas songs and dimming the lights for the first hour of trading each day. 

Research from the National Autistic Society found that 50% of autistic people and their families sometimes avoid  going out because of concern about people’s reaction to their autism and that sadly over a quarter (28%) have been asked to leave a public space because of behaviours related to their autism. 

Grant said: “Shopping during the festive season can be challenging for those who find the hustle and bustle and additional lights and noise uncomfortable.  So, in our ongoing commitment to making our stores more accessible to all, our Christmas Quiet Hour is returning throughout December.  For the first hour of opening each day we will switch off the music, dim the lights wherever possible and aim to make our stores feel calmer.  This is to show our continued support for our autistic customers and their families and for those who find shopping during the festive season more challenging, particularly in a year of so much change. We hope that it helps to make Christmas shopping with us enjoyable for everyone.”

The Christmas Quiet Hours will be in operation from opening until 10am at each store throughout December. The Entertainer has also extended its opening hours nationwide wherever possible, from 8am-8pm Monday to Saturday so that shoppers can visit its 171 stores across the country with more flexibility than before. Opening times will vary for each store but all information can also be found at: https://www.thetoyshop.com/store-finder