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Italy: DESPAR Maiora promotes inclusion of young autists

January 14, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: Community, People

DESPAR Maiora has commenced an inclusion programme which will continue throughout 2020 supporting young people with neurodiversity, who are often excluded from the workplace, and offering them a chance to develop their skills and connect with the local community.

In the weeks before Christmas, a group of young autistics and neurodiverse people were present in stores to hand to customers the much desired DESPAR Maiora’s Christmas recipe book, accompanied by professionals and social workers from local organisation Sivola.

The attractive DESPAR recipe book, which has been published each year since 2015 in time for Easter and Christmas, features the most delicious dishes from Italian celebrity chefs. An event is always made of the book’s issue, leading to joyful interactions with shoppers instore.

Maiora, operator of the SPAR brand in Southern and Central Italy, partnered in 2018 with ‘The Fairies’ Children’ – an Italian charity that has been raising awareness to promote the inclusion of people with neurodiversity, such as autism, since 2005.

“Supporting the entry of people with neurodiversity in the work place requires the right space and time frame, and it’s important to plan these well in advance. The enthusiasm we see in young people who are approaching this new experience shows how much they want to be recognised as an active part of society, with all that they are able to do”, Dr Erica Lacerenza of Social Cooperative Sivola, explained.

Maiora has also joined an initiative of the city administration of Trani, called “Trani Autism Friendly”, launched last October which led to a multi-lateral agreement signed by retailers, private companies and public bodies, all agreeing to undertake measures to promote or simplify the use of services and hospitality by people who have autism spectrum disorders.

Source: DESPAR Maiora

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About SPAR Italy

SPAR International first granted a licence for the operation of the SPAR Brand to SPAR Italy in 1959. The first store opened in the latter part of 1960 and with it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in Italy. SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.

The DESPAR Partners operate stores under three formats: DESPAR Neighbourhood Supermarkets, EUROSPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets. Many of the larger format stores are company-owned, reflecting the scale of investment required. While the majority of the company’s turnover is acquired through these larger format stores, the independently owned neighbourhood supermarkets remain a key part of the business.