Bristol Sport Foundation has joined forces with Bristol Bears Community Foundation to launch a new ‘sensory safe space’ at Ashton Gate Stadium.
After two recent feasibility trials, participants from Bears’ school and community programmes were invited to use the ‘safe space’ before, during and after the Bears’ Gallagher Premiership clash with Northampton Saints on March 3rd.
With a Mobiloo accessible changing vehicle onsite for the first time for a Bears home game also, the partner charities have created the stadium’s most accessible offer to date.
Disability & Inclusion Support colleague, Kris Tavender, said: “From sensory lights, bean bags and fidget toys, to a safe and removed space from the main action – we are thrilled to be able to offer whole families of fans this unique experience together.
“We work with some of the most amazing young people in the region, but the reality is these young people are some of the most disadvantaged in terms of sensory barriers, physical disability, and the simplicity of accessing events and activities as a family with siblings and parents all joining in together. And that’s the dream – proper family, proper community, proper inclusion.”
Bristol Sport Foundation Chief Community Officer Ben Breeze said: “We are delighted to support the provision of a sensory room and inclusive changing facilities at Ashton Gate Stadium. This pilot scheme will improve our understanding of the need and demand for these facilities and help guide us in our aspiration to provide permanent inclusive facilities at the stadium, so we can make our matchdays the most accessible in the country.”
With the associated costs to provide these experiences significant, the collaboration between the two partner charities at Ashton Gate is key to realising the goal of accessible matchdays for all.
“The truth is we want this at every Bears game, every season,” added Tavender. “But we also appreciate that great goals are achieved through firm foundations, and that’s what we are really looking to build here.
“Real collaboration between the Bears Foundation and Bristol Sport Foundation allows us to pool resources to meet the greatest needs, as we deliver a second extended invitational event at Harlequins in the next round of Premiership action, before opening to the wider fanbase for the final home game of the season versus Gloucester Rugby in May.”
A Mobiloo is a mobile accessible toilet with an adult-sized changing bench, hoist, and a friendly attendant run by the charity ‘Vehicles for Change’.
The Mobiloo enables all disabled children and adults to use the toilet or be changed with dignity and respect when they wish to go to events and activities – events from which they are too often excluded by the absence of the necessary changing facilities.
To find out more about sponsoring and enabling further match day Sensory Safe Spaces, please contact: email@example.com
For more information regarding Mobiloo, click here.