Clonakilty will be Ireland’s first autism-friendly town.

The town of Clonakilty in West Cork is rolling out a program to ensure that it is a suitable environment for members of the autistic community, hoping to become Ireland’s very first autism-friendly town.

In 2015, the local Clonakilty branch of Irish supermarket SuperValu partnered with AsIAm, an educational and advocacy organization for Ireland's autism community that works to build an inclusive and understanding society. 

As a result, Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty became the first retailer in Ireland to implement changes in-store that would ensure that members of the autism community could enjoy a better shopping experience and now, 100 SuperValu retailers around the country have adopted the same initiative to their own stores and communities.

Read more: Meet the man opening up the conversation on autism in Ireland

Exciting News! We are so proud to be working with @ScallySupervalu @SuperValuIRL and the community of Clonakilty to bring about Ireland's First Autism-Friendly Town

— (@AsIAmIreland) July 23, 2018

“Our work with AsIAm and Middletown Centre for Autism over the past year has opened our eyes to what we can do beyond the each and every store to ensure we use our unique position in the heart of Irish towns to make positive changes across the entire community,” said SuperValu marketing director Des O’Mahony.

“This is a project we are very excited about and proud to be supporting and we have full faith in Clonakilty to become Ireland’s first autism-friendly town.”

Read more: Scientists in Ireland make autism breakthrough

We are delighted to be leading this initiative alongside @scallysupervalu and @asiamireland and have every confidence in Clonakilty becoming Ireland’s First Autism Friendly Town. #AutismAwareness

— SuperValu Ireland (@SuperValuIRL) July 24, 2018

Under the guidance of AsIAm and Supervalu, the whole town of Clonakilty will now attempt to make their community as a whole more autism-friendly, hoping to become the first town in Ireland to receive official autism-friendly accreditation.

In order to do this, the whole town must commit to:

  • Engagement and training of 25% of businesses and voluntary organizations;
  • Engagement and training of 50% of public services;
  • Engagement and training of 50% of school communities;
  • Engagement and training of 50% of healthcare professionals;
  • Engagement of three employers;
  • Reaching 25% of the town’s population.

“Through this initiative, we are looking forward to mainstreaming autism and making big changes for the autism community,” said the founder of AsIAm Adam Harris.

Best of luck, Clonakilty!