BREWERS club captain Shaun Barker has brought a sensory room to the Pirelli Stadium to enable those with autism to enjoy a matchday at the home of Burton Albion.
The defender’s charity, The Shaun Barker Foundation, was set up to help and support people in Derby and the surrounding area and now he has purchased portable equipment which can turn an executive box at the Pirelli Stadium into a sensory room.
Sensory rooms are special spaces which enable adults and children with difficulties such as autism to watch live matches from a secure area with a window onto the pitch, allowing them to feel part of the matchday action.
Sensory rooms have already been introduced at a number of other football clubs with Watford pioneering their use.
Burton Albion’s equipment, which provides lights and a comforting sensory experience to provide an escape from the potentially overwhelming noise of a football crowd, has the benefit of being portable. It can therefore be used on non-matchdays as well.
Burton Albion Community Trust’s Head of Community Matt Hancock said: “We are pleased to be able to offer a sensory room at Burton Albion and it’s another step in making the Pirelli Stadium a welcoming place for all.
“I want to thank Shaun for making it possible and for his commitment to this project.
“The sensory room equipment will be kept at the new BACT building and will now be used as appropriate on our disability programmes. We will also be planning to make use of it at future home first team games.”
Shaun Barker said: “Making football accessible to everyone to enjoy is very important and I’m delighted that we have been able to make this happen at Burton Albion. I want to thank the chairman Ben Robinson for making an executive box available to launch the sensory room and to Burton Albion Community Trust for supporting the project.”
Susan Severn, a volunteer fundraiser for Awareness for Autism, said: “We used to watch Derby but had to stop as we couldn’t take our little boy along. To have somewhere to chill out is great. It can get too much and it’s important to have somewhere to escape and it’s great that Shaun has done this.”