Middlesbrough Football Club is proud to unveil the Riverside Stadium’s first Sensory Room, for young fans with autism and related conditions.
The room, housed in the Riverside’s East Stand, is a comfortable space for children who may struggle to cope with crowds and noise levels on a matchday.
It features special lighting, seating and activities, and offers a relaxed and secure environment for children and their families to enjoy the game.
Boro are one of just five clubs across English and Scottish football to offer such a facility.
The club has received funding from the Premier League, BT Sport’s Disability Programme and The Lord’s Taverners, a disability sports charity.
Plus, the initiative has had support from Teesside University, WHSmith Teesside Park and the Shippey Campaign, which set up by Peter and Kate Shippey in 2014.
Peter and Kate’s three sons – Nathan, aged 9, Owen, aged 6 and Callum, aged 4 – have been diagnosed with autism. The parents feel it is a crucial provision for families like theirs.
Kate said: “It’s amazing to see – you can’t underestimate what it means to children and their parents.
“When you have a child with autism, and they want to come to the match, it’s an unpredictable environment and there are so many sensory difficulties, right from the approach to the match.
“But football is a sport so many people enjoy, and this opens the door to so many people.”
Yvonne Ferguson, MFC’s Head of Supporter Services, added: “We’re immensely proud to be able to open this new Sensory Room.
“Middlesbrough Football Club is committed to offering the best matchday experience to all our fans, and this is a great step forward for us.”