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Kardinia Park Stadium Trust and Geelong FC partner to offer sensory inclusive experience

Kardinia Park Stadium Trust and Geelong FC partner to offer sensory inclusive experience
May 3, 2019

Geelong Cats match days and major events produced by the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust at GMHBA Stadium are to be accredited as sensory inclusive.

While attending a sporting event such as an AFL match is an exciting experience for most, for some people with sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation - such as those with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions - attending such events can be loud and crowded.

Commenting on this, a Trust spokesperson advised "attending events like this can be overwhelming and this is why it can sometimes be easier for parents and carers to avoid these places altogether."

Recognising this, the Trust has partnered with US non-profit KultureCity to become an accredited 'Sensory Inclusive Stadium' to create an inclusive experience for every guest, with the spokesperson adding "(this will) improve our ability to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any event.

"Fans will have the use of a dedicated Sensory Room including a quiet space and a multi-sensory room with equipment donated by BCYF and Percy Baxter Perpetual Trust.

"The Sensory Zone has a small sensory room within a larger quiet space and is designed to enable guests to feel comfortable and in control during their time at GMHBA Stadium."

The sensory space has been trialled over the first two AFL match days at GMHBA Stadium this season, with over 20 families utilising the space.

Guests are welcome to visit the room before, during or after the game.

As part of the Sensory Inclusive initiative, Sensory Backpacks will be available to borrow on event days. The backpacks include fidget toys, noise-cancelling headphones as well as a number of other resources, and are available for checkout at no cost by leaving an ID at the following places:

• Geelong Cats Welcome Desk (ground level, Brownlow Stand)
• Deakin Cats Community Centre (Gate 8)
• St Johns First Aid Room (ground level, Ford Stand)

The Sensory Inclusive initiative has been nearly two years in the making and has involved a large number of community groups to become a reality, including: Deakin University, Barwon Child Youth and Family (BCYF), Barwon Paediatric Services, Leisure Networks, Gateways Support Services, NDIS, Latrobe Community Health, G21, City of Greater Geelong, Armstrong Creek School, Diversitat and Hope Bereavement Services. Kane Constructions undertook the building works free of charge and BCYF donated close to $100,000 in equipment.

Images: The dedicated Sensory Room at GMHBA Stadium (top) and the venue from the air (below).

Related Articles

1st May 2019 - NRL and AFL launch sensory rooms at some venues to connect with all fans

30th April 2019 - New Kardinia Park Stadium Trust partnership aims for positive environmental impact

9th April 2019 - Kardinia Park Trust names new Chief Executive

4th April 2019 - GMHBA Stadium becomes Australia’s first Sensory Inclusive Stadium

11th December 2018 - Michael Brown resigns as Chief Executive of Kardinia Park Stadium Trust

2nd May 2018 - Guide Dogs Australia recognise Etihad Stadium for community accessibility

16th November 2017 - Deakin Cats Community Centre attracts 80,000 visitors in four years

16th August 2017 - New Christchurch Metro Sports facility to feature aquatic sensory room

30th June 2017 - New Chair announced for Kardinia Park Trust

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