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Doncaster Rovers partner with Autism Plus to make football more accessible

Doncaster Rovers are continuing in their strategy to make football accessible for all.

Last summer, they opened a quiet room to help fans with autism.  Now, they have produced a first time fans guide tailored to those with autism.

Attending a busy venue for the first time can be daunting for some people.  The new guide attempts to show the day from start to finish, with the aim of helping people visualise and plan their afternoon at the football.

The guide gives a first person view of purchasing tickets, using the turnstiles, and queuing for kiosks.  It also explains the colour coding around the stadium which can help first time fans find their way around more easily.

Group head of marketing and communications Shaun Lockwood said:

Rovers are committed to making football as accessible as possible.  We believe that anyone should feel comfortable attending a game and this guide – in partnership with Autism Plus – should go some way to helping those with Autism attend matches for the first time.

“This guide is just the most recent step in our equality work following on from last season’s launch of a matchday quiet room.  This season, we have expanded our quiet rooms so that we now have faith rooms and quiet places for breastfeeding as well.  We believe these steps demonstrate our commitment to the Rovers for All campaign.”

Katie Mitchell, marketing manager at Autism Plus, said:

We are delighted to partner with Doncaster Rovers as we believe football should be accessible for everyone.  For a person with autism, attending a football match can be a stressful experience – the loud noises, large crowds and the busy environment can be very overwhelming.  We hope this guide will help to remove some of the barriers and improve the matchday experience for individuals with autism, and their families and friends.

The guide can be viewed here

The stadium quiet room introduced last year was suggested by life-long Rovers supporter Katie Blakeman.  She said at the time that the large number of spectators and the noise of the crowd can cause anxiety for people with autism.  The room is located near to the pitch in the ground’s family stand.  It joined similar facilities at Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Watford.

Group head of marketing and communications Shaun Lockwood said at the launch of the autism guide:

This guide is just the most recent step in our equality work following on from last season’s launch of a matchday quiet room.  This season, we have expanded our quiet rooms so that we now have faith rooms and quiet places for breastfeeding as well.  We believe these steps demonstrate our commitment to the Rovers for All campaign.

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Mary Vickers moved to North East Lincolnshire in 2010, from the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, to become Urban and Industrial Chaplain NELincs. Made redundant in 2017, she's maintained many of her connections within the business, faith, and other local communities. She's also decided to stay here rather than return to either the south or her husband's native Yorkshire, so that she can continue to enjoy and help promote the positives of NELincs.

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