SOLIHULL Moors have been praised by an autism campaigner for the provision they provide for those with disabilities and autism.
Solihull Moors Football Club are a club in the National League, the 5th tier of English football, and they have introduced a ‘sensory story’ – designed by campaigner Alex Manners – for fans with autism.
The story is designed to provide an introduction to the ground and the fan experience before visiting the ground.
This enables those with autism to familiarise the environment to prevent sensory overloads or anxiety.
The club also introduced an Ability Counts football team which has between 20 and 25 members who train with the club on Saturdays.
The team is designed to give anyone, regardless of learning and physical disability, the chance to play competitive football.
Mr Manners, aged 21, is a recent Solihull College and University Centre Media Production graduate and he has Asperger’s syndrome – a form of autism.
He films Solihull Moors FC matches for BT Sport and has set himself the target of watching a match at all 92 English Football League grounds.
A sports stadium can be an anxious environment for someone with a complex condition like autism, he says.
And he has launched a football and autism awareness campaign to improve provision available for fans who have autism.
He has been distributing a questionnaire to the players and parents on the Ability Counts section to enhance experience on match-day.
Mr Manners said: “The club are an example to others that with a little bit of will, great things can be achieved.
“The club are a shining example to others that even if you are not the biggest of clubs or you don’t have the most money you can still achieve great things.
“Having Autism myself and attending matches weekly it’s great to see my local team trying to help people like myself.
“It’s been a pleasure working with them not only to create the sensory story but on many other projects”.