Premier League football clubs are being given the opportunity to apply for funding to help fans with sensory difficulties.
BT and the Premier League have teamed up with The Shippey Campaign and disability sports charity the Lord’s Taverners to fund sensory rooms across the 20 Premier League clubs. The clubs can apply for funding at any time throughout the 2016/17 season.
The first sensory room at a football club was opened at Sunderland AFC last season in conjunction with Kate and Peter Shippey who were inspired to work with the club so their children and other sports fans on the autism spectrum could enjoy live football at the clubs they support.
Part of the Premier League and BT Disability Programme which launched earlier this month, the new unique spaces will allow adults and children with sensory difficulties to watch live football matches from a room with a window onto the pitch, in a calm environment away from the noise and crowds.
The Shippeys were inspired to ask Sunderland to install the room so their young soccer-mad son Nathan could enjoy live matches.
Suzy Christopher, Community & Charity Director, BT, said:
We’re delighted to be working with the Lord’s Taverners and The Shippey Campaign to build comfortable spaces so fans with sensory difficulties can enjoy live sport.
The Premier League and BT Disability Programme is about making sport more inclusive, and providing sensory rooms in football grounds is a practical way to make a real difference.
Kate and Peter Shippey, founders of The Shippey Foundation, said:
We’re delighted that our work with Sunderland AFC has proved so successful and that BT and the Premier League are generously funding and encouraging other football clubs to make practical steps to make sport more inclusive.
Bill Bush, Executive Director, Premier League said:
This partnership will allow clubs to build on the excellent work they are already doing and enable even more fans to enjoy a live matchday experience. The sensory room at Sunderland AFC is a great example of how a matchday experience can be created for fans with sensory difficulties and this partnership will enable more of our clubs to install these areas.