Red Funnel recognised by National Autistic Society for onboard changes
Red Funnel, the Isle of Wight ferry company, has been recognised by the National Autistic Society for the measures it has taken on board to provide an autism-friendly service across all its ships and terminals. Changes include offering options to embark and disembark the vessels in a quieter method to avoid crowds and help passengers stay calm and enjoy their time onboard. Families and carers can also book a familiarisation visit, allowing autistic passengers to experience the ship’s surroundings before they consider booking their journey.
Red Funnel’s website includes a journey walkthrough for those travelling from afield. This allows people to prepare for their sensory journey to anticipate what they will see, hear, and feel during their journey.
Ships will now carry autism-friendly first aid kits for any autistic passengers who may need them. . They contain sensory items, such as ear defenders and fidget toys. And specially trained staff will also be able to support families crossing to and from Southampton.
The award comes from the Cross-Solent ferry services dedicated to providing an inclusive experience for all passengers, including autistic people.
Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel said: We are dedicated to ensuring that every passenger that steps on board our ships has a pleasant experience from start to finish. As a business that is committed to being fully inclusive, we are continuously updating our facilities and I am pleased that these latest changes will specifically improve travel for those with autism.”
Christine Flintoft-Smith, Head of Autism Accrediation at the National Autistic Society, said: “Red Funnel should be exceptionally proud of their achievement. The National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award sets a high standard, which Red Funnel has worked incredibly hard to meet.”
The National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award provides guidance on how businesses can be more inclusive for autistic people. The award focuses on key areas including how to provide customer services, information and environments which are accessible and inclusive for autistic people. It can be adopted by any customer facing organisation, including businesses in the retail, transport, arts, entertainment and leisure industries.