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HUCSF Back Autism Friendly Football Campaign

10 July 2019

Hartlepool United Community Sports Foundation is backing a charity’s campaign for football clubs to  become more autism friendly.

As part of the Club’s commitment to its fans, HUCSF have launched free sensory bags to help support people with autism. Included in the bag are:

Ear defenders
Stress Ball
Fidget Spinner
Wrist Band
Autism Awareness Card and Lanyard

In addition, the Club will also be launching a sensory room that supporters can go to, away from the noise and crowd if they are feeling overwhelmed and need some time out on a matchday. This room will include sensory aids and a dark den with equipment.

The Autism Friendly Football campaign, launched by charity Autism Wessex and former Premier League Manager Harry Redknapp, supports football clubs of all sizes to make small changes that will make a big difference to anyone affected by autism.

Karen Wilmshurt, Advocacy Services Manager at Autism Wessex, said, “Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition that can affect the way that someone thinks, communicates and manages their senses. For someone with autism and their family, going to watch their favourite football team play can be overwhelming and stressful but there are easy steps that any club can take. 

"Thank you to Hartlepool United and everyone that has got behind the campaign so far”.

This has all become possible thanks to the £1000 funding from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme.

Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £75 million to over 25,000 local community projects.

Voting ran in stores throughout March and April with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the checkout.

Foundation Manager, Keith Nobbs, said, “Autism is more common than you may think with around 1 in 100  people in the UK affected. It’s a hidden disability, which means you can’t always tell if someone has it.

"We want to ensure that football is open to all of our fans and hope that the steps we have taken will encourage those who have possibly avoided the crowd and noise in the past to attend a game, knowing that there are facilities in place to help.

"We could not do this without the support of Hartlepool United FC and Tesco Bags for Life, so a huge thank you to both”.

For more information or to register for one of our sensory packs please contact Sarah on 01429 862595 or email s.rowntree@hartlepoolunited.co.uk


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