Derby County Community Trust are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all and continue to aim to deliver inclusive activities across the county, facilitating a range of disability sessions in communities and schools.
Back in 2019, the Community Trust recognised that a dedicated space was needed at Pride Park Stadium to welcome some of their participants, particularly those with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
Thanks to the Shaun Barker Foundation, who kindly funded the purchase of specific sensory equipment designed to make the environment as comfortable as possible for attendees, the Community Trust rolled out an initial trial of the room for five home fixtures in the 2019/20 season and have offered places in the room at every subsequent Derby County home game.
The Community Trust have been able to fund the facility as a charity since its inception and have helped many families to experience something that they never thought would be possible.
Now in its third season, the costs of keeping the Sensory Room running are mounting. Designed as a place for all, they do not want to introduce any charge to the families who use the room, and instead, have launched a fan based fundraising campaign, where fans can help play their part.
Supporters can now purchase a space on the ‘1884 Wall’ for just £10, with all proceeds supporting the ongoing costs of the Sensory Room.
All bookings will receive a dedicated spot on the brand new feature, which will be unveiled in the New Year, outside the South West corner of Pride Park Stadium. Names will be displayed for a full calendar year, with VIP blocks also available for those who would like to display a message as well as a name.
Parents of children who have been able to use the room have given some amazing feedback.
One said: “For me as a father, to be able to experience seeing my child standing in the stadium waving a Derby County flag above his head, cheering the team on; I have no words other than thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“You made a family moment for us that was perfect, and you gave me and my son a bonding rite of passage I never thought we would be able to have. The entire night was one of kindness and joy and we thank everyone at the Trust who made it possible.
“If you have a child with autism at any level of the spectrum or any other diagnosis, fill in the form get in touch. It is a night to remember. Or just pass the word on to friends and family that this room exists. There are not many clubs that have one, or staff as wonderful as at Pride Park so put the word out to anyone you know who might be interested and let’s keep this wonderful room going.
“The room also costs the families nothing to use so if you have the means donate to the Trust so they can keep the room going for many more families to use, please consider it.”
Simon Carnall, Head of Community at the Community Trust, said: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring the Sensory Room remains totally accessible, and will not be introducing any fees to those who use it.
“However, it does cost us a significant amount to keep running each year, and we know that the generosity of Derby County fans will help us keep this amazing facility open for all home games, every season.
“The 1884 Wall gives fans a chance to see their name at the stadium they love, whilst supporting a project that allows other supports to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with their loved ones.”
Spaces on the wall are available now at derbycountycommunitytrust.com/fundraising-and-events/fundraising/1884-wallfor just £10 per name (or £20 for a VIP block including a message).
Supporters can purchase spots for themselves or on behalf of other fans, and each name will be displayed for a calendar year.
To find out more about the Sensory Room, please head to derbycountycommunitytrust.com.