English Championship football club Huddersfield Town has launched a new inclusion room at John Smith’s Stadium for supporters with additional and specific needs.
The space has been converted from two adjoining hospitality boxes and is designed to help fans with autism or other sensory processing needs enjoy their match-day experience.
The room allows for an unrestricted view of the pitch and features separate indoor and outdoor areas, which can be used depending on individual preference.
The room will include a quiet space and a separate dark space with an array of sensory equipment and toys, which may be particularly beneficial to supporters and/or individuals with autism or other sensory processing needs. To maximise comfort, the room has been decorated with bean bags and soft throws.
Since opening recently, the space has been used by Kirklees Council’s Support for People with Autism group, members of the foundation’s Sporting Memories Reminiscence group, females from local community group Ready Steady Active, and three local children with additional needs.
Robyn Kennerdale, head of supporter services at Huddersfield, said: “The idea behind the inclusion room was to try and create a safe and controlled environment for people with a wide range of different needs to be able to enjoy a match; some who may not otherwise have been able to have this experience in another area of the stadium.
“Our ‘Terriers Together’ campaign encapsulates all our equality-related work and our commitment to being an inclusive club, and it is our hope that the inclusion room can be used by people with needs relating to disability, people who have long-term or limiting health conditions, people in end-of-life care and so on.
“It has been absolutely wonderful to welcome guests into the room already and to hear the feedback from those whom it has helped.”
Image: Huddersfield Town