QUIET sessions with Santa will be held in Alloa for children and young adults with disabilities and additional support needs.

They will be able to experience a peaceful trip to see Father Christmas in his grotto free from music, lights or crowds next month.

Alloa Town Centre BID (ATCBID) is hosting these visits for the first time and they will be held in the Speirs Centre, booking is essential.

Lorraine Douglas, ATCBID, said: "The idea of having the quiet visits with Santa came after a comment was made by a local woman last year.

"She didn’t know how her young son with mild autism would cope with his visit with Santa on a busy Saturday, and commented, 'I wish we could come on our own at a quiet time'.

"Her son was fine on his visit, but it could have turned out to be a very stressful time for her and her son."

In the planning of the events, the BID has taken advice and help from Play Alloa and Scottish Autism's New Struan School, which it is grateful for.

Maria Malcolm, project manager at Play Alloa, said: "I was delighted when I heard about the quiet Santa event and wholeheartedly support the Alloa BID team's effort to ensure Christmas in Alloa is for everyone – no matter their ability or disability.

"I think it's fantastic that such effort is being made to recognise the wide range of needs of our local children.

"I'm sure the events will be well attended and wish the BID team, and Santa, a wonderful, inclusive Christmas."

Lucy Chetty, head teacher at New Struan School, said: "We were very happy to support Alloa Town Centre BID with their quiet session.

"We welcome initiatives such as these, where small adjustments can make for a more relaxed experience for people with autism or other sensory conditions."

Sessions will take place within the library in December, on Wednesdays 6, 13 and 20, between 5.30-7pm.

Each child or young adult will be given a 10 minute slot to spend with Santa, free from the stress of queueing.

The cost of a visit with a present will be £5, to be arranged in advance.

Or for those looking to drop in and see him without a gift, no charge will be applied but a booking is still required.

Parents and guardians will be free to take photos of their own children, other siblings within the family are also welcome.

To book a quiet visit with Santa at the Speirs Centre, please call the BID team on 01259 404104.