Today marks the start of Southampton Football Club’s Equality and Diversity Week of Action, and to kick things off we take a look at how the Sensory Room at St Mary’s is benefiting supporters.
Introduced in September 2017, the room provides a calming environment for fans of all ages with sensory differences, who can find the atmosphere inside a football stadium challenging.
As a club, we’re proud to be able to create an environment for people on the Autism spectrum to enjoy football, made possible through our work with local organisations, such as Autism Hampshire.
Since the Sensory Room opened, we’ve been able to welcome families and carers of children and adults, many attending a live match at a football stadium for the first time.
Every visitor has been given the opportunity to return for further matches, and some have been able to move towards attending matches in general admission areas. We can even boast some new Season Ticket holders!
Feedback from guests that have been able to use the Sensory Room have been overwhelmingly positive:
He absolutely loved the Sensory Room, it was perfect. It really gave him the opportunity to have a few minutes 'out' so he could relax during the game. The whole experience was brilliant and he can't wait to visit again to watch a game.
A resident that I work closely with used the sensory room for his 30th Birthday. He loves football and used to be a season ticket holder but unfortunately as he has grown so have his anxieties. Managing to get him to the game last year was a massive success that we were all very proud of.
This facility has greatly benefited not just my son but our whole family. We should like to express our sincere appreciation for the opportunity, so that he could experience football and feel supported at the same time. This is a very special memory for us all.
If you, a member of your family, or someone you support, would benefit from our Sensory Room, or you would like to talk about other services and facilities we have for guests with Autism spectrum conditions, we encourage you to get in touch – 02380 711980 or [email protected].
Although the Sensory Room is fully booked for the rest of the current season, there will be lots of opportunities to visit the stadium next season.
If you would like to learn more about how Autism Hampshire are meeting the diverse needs of people on the Autism spectrum you can visit their website or contact them directly on 01489 880881 or [email protected].