The Supporters Trust wish to congratulate Queens Park Rangers for being the first major spectator sports arena to be awarded The National Autistic Society (NAS) Autism Access Award.
The award will be presented to the club before the Barclays Premier League home fixture against Southampton on 7 January by Stephen Davies, an NAS Trustee and passionate QPR supporter.
The award is given to organisations that are committed to being autism friendly. Previous recipients include the national parliaments of Northern Ireland and Wales and the RAF Museum in Hendon.
As part of the work to achieve the award, the club asked people with autism and their families attending home matches to complete a survey about how the club could be made more accessible. Their suggestions formed the basis of an action plan to help QPR meet the needs of people with autism.
The club’s website now includes a downloadable easy-read guide to help people with autism prepare for a visit, including tips for those who may have sensory issues around large crowds. The club is committed to ensuring that staff who have direct contact with fans receive autism-awareness training.
QPR also supports people with autism in the community. They run an after-school football club for children with autism and provide sessions for adults attending a local day centre. An extensive multi-sports schools programme also includes many pupils with autism.
Andy Rees, Supporters Liaison Officer, said: “Being involved in the Autism Access Award has really helped us to appreciate what we can do to make matchdays a more enjoyable experience for visitors with autism.
“We are privileged to receive the award, but consider that this is very much the start of a process in terms of making sure we are doing the very best we can and learning from the feedback.”