Arsenal have unveiled a new sensory room at the Emirates to help fans with ‘profound special needs’, their families and carers enjoy games at the stadium.
Working with the Shippey Campaign, an organisation set up by the parents of three autistic children, the room will allow many fans with autism the chance to enjoy football for the first time.
Peter Shippey told the Islington Gazette at the opening of the room, “It’s fantastic that Arsenal have created a sensory room. This room will allow autistic supporters and their families to enjoy football, maybe for the first time in their lives.
“This is the best facility that has been introduced and we are so pleased that a club like Arsenal is showing that they care for their supporters.”
The Islington Gazette also report that Arsenal first introduced services for disabled supporters in the early 1960s when they provided a commentary service for fans with visual impairments It is a service that continues to this day and highlights how Arsenal have always tried to be as inclusive as possible for all fans.
The also provide an audio version of the matchday programme and, according to the Gazette, were ‘the first Premier League club to install a Guide Dog Toilet facility.’
A statement on the Shippey Campaign’s official website, said,
It is with great pleasure and pride that we can announce that after working with Arsenal, they have come out tops and have created an amazing sensory viewing facility!
The sensory facility gives the access of two viewing rooms with a wonderfully tranquil sensory haven which is central and accessible between the two viewing rooms.
The sensory room boasts a wealth of interactive equipment, including bubble tube, fiber optic ropes, infinity tunnel and an amazing interactive mat, all of which helps with any overstimulation which can occur at The Emirates!
After spending the morning with Luke, Alun and Dan – the fabulous staff at Arsenal, we were invited to attending their match against West Brom. After experiencing the outstanding atmosphere in the stands (and seeing the team win!) we visited the Sensory Room to see how the families were feeling in there.
The consensus was nothing short of fabulous! Everyone had a wonderful time and for that we are truly ecstatic.
Arsenal FC chose not to apply for the funding available…they did it because they saw and understood the need. They didn’t need financial help…just the support and guidance that we could offer…which they took and used.
They heard, they asked, they did.