Blackburn Rovers has teamed up with the AllTogether Social Trust to provide children with disabilities with a special play area and sensory room – believed to be the first of its kind at a football club in the country!
The state-of-the-art facility, located in the stadium’s Strikers Lounge, is Rovers’ latest measure in making the matchday experience at Ewood Park inclusive for all.
For Christine Peacock, Rovers’ Access Officer for disabled people, it is the realisation of a long-term ambition.
“Strikers is a great facility for families coming to Ewood on matchdays, but it needed to be accessible to all children,” she said.
“A team of volunteers from the AllTogether Social Trust worked with the club to transform the area, so that children who need additional support can enjoy coming here and join in with everyone else. It means that families with a child with disabilities and siblings can have family fun together.
“All those involved in setting this up have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In fact, it has been a great team effort and a fantastic result all round!”
Visitors have clearly been impressed. Michael Rawnsley, a Rovers season ticket holder, brought his son Samuel to the recent Derby County match and hailed the room a ‘wonderful initiative’.
“Blackburn Rovers should be congratulated for their forward-thinking approach and I would have no hesitation in recommending the facilities to family and friends,” he said.
“I cannot praise the staff working within the sensory room enough. Their willingness to assist and ensure Samuel made full use of the facilities was first class and a credit to the club and themselves.”
The AllTogether Social Trust is a charity for children and young adults with disabilities, their families and carers, based in the Enterprise Centre at Ewood Park. The Trust runs two clubs, one for 5-14 year-olds, the other for 15-25 year-olds, held every other Friday at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre (BRIC).
Lizzy Toms, manager of The AllTogether Social Trust, said: “We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with Blackburn Rovers. The sensory room is a room full of mystery and sparkle that has a transformative effect on everyone who enters. It is a room that stimulates, inspires, empowers and motivates, yet at the same time relaxes and soothes.”
Strikers is open on matchdays from 12 noon and is available for any child under 16 who is accompanied by an adult with match tickets.
Caption: Visitors to the new sensory room at Ewood Park.