Autism Friendly Status at Wrexham AFC
By Kerry Evans, Wrexham AFC Disability Liaison Officer
It is an honour to be back in EssentialsMAG informing you all once again of another element to my job role. In my last article I touched on us being Autism Friendly at Wrexham AFC, and this month, on the 27th November, we celebrate having Autism Friendly Status for a full 12 months.
We have put an awful lot of effort in to making our Autism Status Service the very best it can be. As well as our fantastic Sensory Room now fully stocked, our friendly face stewards who provide an excellent service each game to the families using the ‘Quiet Area’ in the ground, our waitress service has also proved a very popular as it helps parents immensely.
And new to this season we have started handing-out free Wrexham bags containing sensory items to any children who regularly attend the games.
One of the biggest successes was the fact I saw a need for an Autism Friendly Football Session, because the parents I was meeting said their children couldn’t attend mainstream sessions. So, in February half term, I set up the first session which is now held every school holiday for an hour.
These sessions are run by our highly qualified Racecourse Community Foundation staff in conjunction with the Wrexham Branch of The National Autistic Society. What an amazing success these sessions have been - they are so well attended showing there was a need to set this up. Our next session is Tuesday 29th October in Glyndŵr Sports Hall 2pm – 3pm and anyone is welcome whether you are diagnosed with autism or still waiting for a diagnosis.
If you register with Wrexham NAS the sessions are completely free, or if you would rather not register there is a small £2 charge which covers the room hire cost. The feedback has been absolutely outstanding and to see the smiles on the children faces means everything to me.
I attend each and every session to be a familiar face to everyone.
A few months ago, I asked two of our 1st team players to be ambassadors for my DLO role, they have been fantastic, offering to help raise the profile of my job and supporting everything I achieve. In the summer holidays they even attend the Autism Friendly Football Sessions, giving the children a chance to meet 1st team players, as I’m sure you can imagine they were a massive hit!
Wrexham AFC Disability Liaison Officer is Kerry Evans