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11 July 2016

Sensory Solutions in Football Clubs

by Alexandra Hooson

Soccer

Many hours of enjoyment are spent at Football Matches but not everybody realises how difficult watching a match live can be for some people, especially people with Autism or Mental Illnesses.
Over the last few years more awareness has been built up throughout the media and through the channels of social media and the internet regarding these issues and how more effort needed to be put into these areas.

Why do people with Autism or Mental Illnesses find these situations difficult?
Bright lights, loud music and a lively atmosphere can be an exciting experience to some people but for some fans, the sensory overload can be an absolute nightmare!
Autism effects over 7000,000 people in the UK and according to a 2014 NAS Survey of individuals, families and carers affected by autism, 43% of those don’t engage in sport because of their sensory difficulties.

What can help?

Over the years people have tried all sorts of solutions to try and make them feel comfortable; ear defenders, sitting in a box to trap the noise but nothing seemed to work 100%, resulting in them having to leave the match before it had finished or them feeling distressed afterwards.
In 2015 Sunderland AFC were the first football club in the Premier League to build a designated sensory room. Since the sensory environment has been created the football club have made their

fans aware of the space and, have received a fantastic response. With Autistic people or people with similar disabilities enjoying and making the most out of the sensory equipment and adding to their match-day experience.
The area consisted of a bubble tube, podium and mirrors, similar to the below. The purpose of this sensory corner is to create a calm, relaxing and stimulation environment.
*Please note this is an example image. All products and the overall design in the image was created by Rhino UK.

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What are the key benefits to the football club?
• Being able to accommodate for people with disabilities ensuring they can attend their favourite football club live for the first time in a safe and relaxing environment.
• Creating bespoke sensory rooms using the club branding as part of the design.
• External room hire for special events i.e. Occupational Therapy Events.
• Portable sensory solutions are available as an alternative so the sensory space isn’t fixed, ideal for those limited on space or would use the space for alternative requirements. An example below showing the Voyager, a portable solution from Rhino UK.

How can Rhino UK help?
Rhino UK has over 40 years’ experience in working with sectors providing sensory solutions for all types of environments. We are on hand every step of the way to be able to help other supporters via football clubs enjoy football in a comfortable environment.Contact our friendly team today to discuss further.

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Editor: Alexandra Eardley, Marketing Manager Rhino UK
Rhino UK, Millbuck Way, Springvale Industrial Estate, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 3HT.
Tel: 01270 766660 Email: enquiries@rhinouk.com