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Premier League to fund autism-friendly facilities for its clubs following Sunderland initiative

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Premier League football clubs will be able to bid for money to create specific areas in their stadiums for supporters with sensory difficulties following a successful initiative in Sunderland.

The fund is being made possible by the league and BT Disability Programme in association with disability sport charities The Shippey Campaign and The Lord’s Taverners.

Sensory rooms create calm, noise-free environments for children and adults, with difficulties such as autism, who want to watch live football.

The first sensory room was opened at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light last year after the co-founder of the Shippey Campaign, Kate Shippey, experienced difficulties taking her autistic child to Premier League football.

After a year’s research, the Nathan Shippey Sensory Room was established, so that up to three fans can enjoy the match from a peaceful place with full view of the pitch.

“When we saw how popular the room was after a few games, we launched the Shippey Campaign,” Kate’s fellow co-founder Peter Shippey told Sports Management. “Our aim is to have facilities like this nationwide, in every stadium.”

Premier League clubs will be able to apply for funding throughout the 2016/17 season.

Suzy Christopher, BT’s community and charity director, added: “The programme is about making sport more inclusive. Providing sensory rooms in football grounds is a way to make a real difference.”

To read the full article about The Shippey Campaign in the latest issue of Sports Management, click here.

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Premier League football clubs will be able to bid for money to create specific areas in their stadiums for supporters with sensory difficulties following a successful initiative in Sunderland.
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