Hartlepool United and fans back annual autism acceptance campaign
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Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust (HUST) has linked up with the North East Autism Society (NEAS) to ensure that its activities help meet the range of needs autistic people need to enjoy the game.
Along with the NEAS, Hartlepool United Disabled Supporters’ Association, Hartlepool United Supporters’ Association and Hartlepool United, they are also backing Autism Acceptance Week and Month.
Measures include a new Community Ticket Incentive to pay for the sensory kits and NEAS service users will be invited to the Swindon Town match on Saturday, April 23, as guests of HUST.
The group will also be publishing a series of articles, including some personal experiences of autistic people attending Pools matches, on their website.
Sensory kits to help young autistic supporters attend games will be housed at the Corner Flag supporters association headquarters next to the ground.
Funds for the Community Ticket Incentive will be raised from a “pay to play” friendly match between HUST and Hartlepool’s Cameron’s Brewery on Sunday, April 24, at 3pm.
Julia Newton, chair of HUST: “I am very proud to be representing HUST and working alongside these other organisations to make sure that everyone feels welcome at Pools.”
NEAS chief executive John Phillipson said: “For the past four years we’ve campaigned passionately to change the narrative around autism from one of deficits and ‘can’t dos’, instead focusing on celebration and understanding.
"We’ve done this by working closely with autistic individuals and their families from across the region and allowing their voices to be heard.
“I am delighted that Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust is joining us this year as we continue our journey to acceptance.”
Stephen Hobin, Pools’s chief operating officer, also lined up on the pitch to show the club’s support.
He said: “We’re really pleased to support Autism Awareness Month and help to reduce any barriers which might prevent autistic people from supporting their local football club.
"We want to continue to make the Suit Direct stadium an inclusive place for all of our supporters.”