Watford FC and Experia have opened a state-of-the-art sensory room, kicking off a new partnership that will see dedicated sensory areas installed at every Premier League football club in the country.
The sensory room we have designed and installed will enable children with a range of learning difficulties to enjoy football matches in a specially designed safe environment. It is part of a series of measures introduced by the club to improve disability access and facilities.
Watford FC becomes the first club in the South of England to install a sensory room and the first to benefit from the partnership between the Premier League Charitable Fund, the Lord’s Taverners, The Shippey Campaign, Experia Sensory and BT Sport which will bring sensory rooms to every Premier League club.
The room features a comfortably furnished viewing area, with an excellent view of the action and a calming area featuring a bubble tube, fibre-optic carpet, soft seating, wall projectors and a glitter-ball with colour wheel. The room also incorporates a Bluetooth speaker system so that visitors can choose their own music if the game becomes too noisy or distressing for their child.
To assist visitors the room will be managed by fully-trained staff with a background in working with children on the autism spectrum.
Experia designed and installed the purpose-built sensory products and the room was opened in time for the first visitors to see Watford beat Everton 3-2.
Theo Canter, the six year-old son of season ticket holder Andrew, has so far been unable to enjoy matches with his Dad and older sister Ruby. Theo and his family became the first Watford fans to use the room at the recent match against Everton. Andrew said:
“We are so delighted that the Watford FC sensory room is now a reality. We have been incredibly impressed by the club's receptiveness and dedication in ensuring these facilities have been made available. The sensory room will make a huge difference to Theo and we look forward to coming along to more matches.”
Local special schools, who have been involved in the design phase of the project, will be invited to attend coming matches and it is hoped that demand from Watford fans who are currently unable to bring children as a result of their needs will also be able to benefit.
Gareth Jones, founder of Experia, said:
“I am very pleased to be announcing the first in a series of new sensory rooms that will be installed at Premier League football clubs across the country before the end of the year. The initiative is a result of our partnership with the Premier League Charitable Fund, the Lord’s Taverners, the Shippey Campaign and BT Sport and by helping provide these facilities; I look forward to enabling more families to enjoy days out together.”
Dave Messenger, Watford FC Supporter Liaison Officer, said:
“Watford FC prides itself on having a proud family tradition and the sensory room is an important part in ensuring that our supporters have access to the latest facilities. The reaction from those using the room has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve had numerous requests and bookings for games across the rest of the season.”