AFC Bournemouth’s Sensory Packs contain a club branded mini soft football, club branded noise cancelling headphones and a menu for concourse food. It also contains an autism awareness card and keychain, which can be shown to match day staff and stewards to ask for assistance in the ground and includes a map of the stadium. All items come in an AFC Bournemouth draw string bag.
The introduction of Sensory Packs is the latest step taken by AFC Bournemouth in its commitment to becoming more autism friendly. In October 2017, the club kicked off an Autism Friendly Football Campaign by inviting our Advocacy Services Manager to deliver autism awareness training to over 100 stewards and staff. Our campaign, backed by Harry Redknapp, former Premier League Football Manager and Ambassador, is supporting football clubs to make small changes that will make a big difference to anyone affected by autism.
Karen Wilmshurst, Advocacy Services Manager at Autism Wessex, said; “For someone with autism and their family, going to watch their favourite team play can be overwhelming and stressful. The introduction of the free Sensory Packs is a positive way to encourage fans with autism to come along to a game and enjoy the experience. It’s important to recognise that everyone with autism is different and so we are continuing to work with the club to explore further ways that it can accommodate fans with autism.”
Karen continues; “At Autism Wessex we have a free Toolkit available for football clubs of all sizes, which contains an easy step by step guide to becoming more autism friendly. Whether you are a fan, player or staff member please encourage your club to get involved and download your copy.”