We teamed up with Ambassador Harry Redknapp to run a campaign to make football more autism friendly.
Our campaign supports football clubs to make small changes that will make a big difference to anyone affected by autism.
Harry Redknapp, former Premier League Football Manager said;
“I feel strongly that football should be open to be everyone. It is so important that we remove any barriers that might stop someone from coming along to a match and cheering on their team. That’s why I’m backing this campaign and would urge all clubs to get behind it!”
The campaign kicked off at Vitality Stadium at the end of October 2017 when Autism Wessex worked with AFC Bournemouth to deliver autism awareness training to stewards and front of house staff.
Karen Wilmshurst, Advocacy Services Manager said;
“Autism is a lifelong, often hidden, condition that can affect the way that someone thinks, communicates and manages their senses. For someone with autism and their family, going to watch their favourite football team play can be overwhelming and stressful; the crowd, noise, smell and the uncertainty about what to expect. But like everyone else, watching football can be a brilliant experience, sharing the highs and lows with family and fellow supporters. People with autism should be given every opportunity to join in like everyone else.“
There are easy ways that clubs can ensure that football is open to all of their fans. From autism awareness training for staff, to offering an alternative entrance/exit and having a quiet area that can be used if someone is feeling overwhelmed, there are many small changes that clubs can make to become more autism friendly. We would love to work with football clubs of all sizes across the region so whether you are a fan, player or staff member please encourage your club to get in touch and support the campaign.
AFC Bournemouth is working with us to take steps to become more autism friendly. The club has given autism awareness training to over 100 stewards and staff and launched sensory packs to make the match day experience more accessible and enjoyable for its fans with autism.