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Club News

Sensory rooms: Volunteers required

14 September 2016

Notts County are looking for volunteers to assist with the operation of their new sensory suite at Meadow Lane.

Sensory room volunteers will be required to work matchdays and/or evenings on a rotational basis.

Suitable candidates will be:

- Caring
- Empathetic
- Passionate
- Flexible

The following qualifications/experience are desirable:

- Enhanced DBS certificate
- NVQ Level 2/3 Play Worker
- Experience of working as a teaching assistant
- Personal experience of either caring or supporting someone with complex learning difficulties

The club would like to thank applicants for their interest. To find out more, please email beverley.markland@nottscountyfc.co.uk or call 07900 740 552.

Complimentary access

To celebrate the launch, Notts offered complimentary access to their sensory rooms for the Sky Bet League Two home matches against Accrington Stanley, Leyton Orient, Morecambe and Crewe Alexandra.

Applications for these tickets have now closed.

Future ticketing process

From the Luton Town match (Saturday 29 October) onwards, each sensory room can be hired for £40.

Requests can be made to beverley.markland@nottscountyfc.co.uk, while general enquiries can be made by calling 07900 740552 between 2pm - 4pm throughout the working week.

Sensory room tickets can be requested four weeks in advance of each match, with early booking encouraged to avoid potential disappointment. There is currently availability for all remaining home games (from Luton Town onwards).

The cost of each room is based on a capacity of eight people, of which a maximum of four will have complex learning difficulties accompanied by a maximum of four parents/carers.

In instances when fewer than four individuals with complex learning difficulties occupy a sensory room, the capacity of the room is reduced to five. This figure must include at least one person with complex learning difficulties and at least two parents/carers. Should the sensory room users wish to increase the room's capacity to eight, match tickets can be purchased at the standard rate.

Once a sensory room has been booked, the ticket office will call to arrange payment. Should payment not be received three days prior to the match, the room will be reallocated.

Sensory room tickets and any accompanying standard match tickets will be available for the booking organiser to collect on matchday from the executive box reception, located in the Haydn Green Family Stand, from 1.30pm (Saturday 3pm kick-offs) or 6.30pm (midweek matches). The tickets will confirm which sensory room has been allocated as well as the details of those on the booking. The booking organiser must provide appropriate ID in order to obtain their group's tickets.

Sensory room ticket arrangements for Notts County Ladies matches are being reviewed and will be announced in due course.

Background

In a ceremony which also saw the club sign the Autism Alliance charter, the rooms were officially opened ahead of the Sky Bet League Two match against Grimsby Town by Notts head groundsman Trevor Hutchinson and his daughter Tyler, who has complex learning difficulties.

Hutchinson said: “It was quite emotional to be honest. To see Tyler react the way she did, and how much she joined in and enjoyed it, was brilliant. I think that was down to all the cameras – she’s quite a poser when it comes to having her picture taken!

“Even after that she remained very calm, which proves the rooms do what they say on the tin.

“It was a great day and I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to achieve.”

The club launched the project after seeking advice from a number of specialists including Autism East Midlands, Rompa, the Shippey campaign and Indigo to ensure the rooms would fully meet the needs of those with complex learning difficulties.

Rompa, a leading organisation in sensory equipment and multi-sensory environments, developed the rooms, which are located in the executive boxes of the Haydn Green Stand.

Dan Casey, marketing manager at Rompa, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Notts, the oldest Football League club in the world, are on board and we hope this will show other clubs it can be done.

“We’ve provided three sensory areas to make the club accessible to people with complex learning difficulties, including autism. It’s such a great thing."

The idea was first floated by Debbie Austin, who visited the club earlier this year in her role as specialist awareness trainer at Autism East Midlands.

Six months later, her suggestion has come to fruition – bigger and better than she ever envisaged.

She said: “Typically it would perhaps be one area or room, but here at Notts County there is an array of rooms – not only for people with sensory issues, but a room for parents as well.

“I am a woman on the autism spectrum, so I know myself that noise and crowded spaces can be overwhelming. People with this type of condition, who would otherwise have stayed away, can now be a part of the game.

“It feels extremely supportive. I think it’s wonderful.”

Each room in detail

The rooms cater for differing needs:

The Rompa Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Room

The Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Room provides resources to calm people using light, sound, smell and touch while giving a fantastic view of the game. The room boasts a bubble tube in a padded base, fibre-optics, eight-colour controller, milky way fibre-optic carpet, laser sky projector, aroma diffuser as well as vibrating pillows to provide a relaxing environment to enjoy the match in.

The Rompa Multi-Sensory Room 2

This room provides simple resources to engage those who may find the main sensory room distracting. It boasts hand-held products to hold, squeeze and manipulate as well as a calming space projector which features a slow-moving lava lamp-like projection, a spotlight and mirror ball. There is also an aroma-diffuser which can be changed for different users.

The Rompa Sensory Integration Room

This room is for the more active and those with sensory processing disorders. It includes spinning, rocking, bouncing and balance as well weighted and compression vests to help those who can be calmed with this type of sensory input. It also has a range of hand-held tactile products to touch and explore, including hard, soft, aroma, smooth and vibration. Each viewing area also provides ear defenders for people who are sensitive to sounds (such as sudden cheers).

Information for parents/carers

- Parents/carers remain responsible for sensory room users at all times

- The parents’ room can be used by the parents/carers provided at least one parent/carer remains in the sensory room with the user at all times

- The sensory suite is manned by volunteers who are there to provide support to the users, but who are unable to provide dedicated caring support. Parents and carers must therefore retain full supervision of their sensory room user at all times

- Notts County intend to review their sensory room ticketing policy after three months as part of their commitment to ensuring the rooms are accessible as possible to those who need them. The club therefore invite supporters to send their feedback to beverley.markland@nottscountyfc.co.uk

- All parents/carers will be asked to complete a profile form on arrival, which will enable the club to gain an understanding of users’ needs. Please note - personal data will be shared with staff and sensory suite volunteers but will not be used for any other purpose

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