Derby County Community Trust are thrilled to be adding a second Sensory Room to Pride Park Stadium for the 2023/24 season.

Since opening the first Sensory Room within the stadium back in 2019, the Community Trust has been overwhelmed by the number of families who have registered their interest in using the facility and the waiting list has been full for some time.

The specialist equipment in the rooms has been provided by ex-Derby County captain Shaun Barker through his own Foundation. So far, the room has offered families the chance to visit Pride Park Stadium, many for the first time.

This season, Chasetown Civil Engineering will be funding the running costs of the second Sensory Room at the stadium, with further equipment being provided by the Shaun Barker Foundation. This will allow the Community Trust to reopen enquiries into the rooms and allow more families to benefit.

The Sensory Room is for children and young adults who have additional needs, aimed at helping those with autism. It provides a safe and relaxing space to enjoy a Derby County game from inside or outside a hospitality box, designed to ensure the game can be enjoyed by all.

Families can come and enjoy the game with the support of Derby County Community Trust’s trained staff. Children with limited communication can enjoy relaxing music and can play with tangible and sensory stimulating objects.

Gavin Lewis, Inclusion Development Manager at the Community Trust, said: “The Sensory Room aims to eliminate any segregation from who can, and who can’t, enjoy a game of football at Pride Park Stadium by removing the barriers that some of our participants face by providing an environment designed for their needs.

“It’s been fantastic to offer out this facility to families, but we have been overwhelmed by demand. Having the second box in place will allow us to help double the number of families for the rest of the season, which is fantastic and we are really grateful for both the Shaun Barker Foundation and Chasetown’s support.”

Euan Grant, Managing Director at Chasetown Civil Engineering, added: “The Sweeney family and Chasetown Civil Engineering are delighted to be able to support Shaun Barker and his foundation, along with the Community Trust, in providing access to football at Pride Park Stadium for individuals and families with a diverse range of additional needs. The provision of a second Sensory Room is a wonderful addition to the facilities at Derby County Football Club and can only enhance the experience of a much wider number of supporters.”

Barker said: “Since my playing days I have always wanted to do something that would really benefit the community on a longer-term basis. I had seen a couple of Sensory Rooms at other football clubs, and when a box became available a few seasons ago it was the perfect time for us to try having one at Derby County.

“The success of the facility has spoken for itself, with the Community Trust being inundated with enquiries over the past few seasons. Now, having a second room will help us all to support more families than ever and we’re all grateful for the support of Chasetown Civil Engineering in making this happen.”

Enquiries have been reopened on the Derby County Community Trust website for families to register their interest in attending a game this season. Please note, priority will be given to those who have not accessed the facility in the past.

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