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Healthy support for people with autism

Posted onPosted on 10th Jan

A leisure centre has sectioned off part of its gym and introduced a quiet hour initiative to help with autism.
Supported by Autism East Midlands, Hucknall Leisure Centre holds its quieter hour sessions every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10.30am to 11.30am.

It is part of an ongoing initiative across Ashfield by Everyone Active, which operates leisure facilities for Ashfield District Council.

They recognised a need for autism-specific activities to support the families of people living with autism.

In October, a Twilight Swim Scheme ­— a swimming lesson that is designed to bring families and friends together of people who have autism — was launched at Hucknall. Lammas Leisure Centre, Sutton, holds an Active Autism Skate and Festival Hall Leisure Centre, Kirkby, recently introduced an exclusive Skate and Bounce session.

The council and Everyone Active said many people who are autistic can find going into a gym with loud music an anxious and uncomfortable experience.

The community engagement team at Hucknall has been delivering Nottingham County Council-approved training on autism awareness to 15 colleagues at the leisure facility — with more being planned.

The quiet hour sees the gym music turned down or off completely, mindful exercises promoted, and posters put up explaining what the initiative is about.

Deanna Housley, general manager at Hucknall Leisure Centre, said: “Statistics show that just shy of 1,000 adults are currently diagnosed with Autism in Ashfield and a lot of those people will not feel comfortable coming to our gym when it is busy and loud.

“This quiet hour is another important step in the right direction to ensure that they will have a much calmer and quieter experience moving forward.”

Coun John Wilmott said: “This is a great initiative that makes our leisure services available to a wider audience. The council, along with Everyone Active, is committed to making our leisure centres and activities as accessible as possible. This is just one initiative we deliver for those living with autism.

“Health and wellbeing is an important part of everyone’s life and we want to make exercise accessible to all.”

Pictured are Rebecca Phillips, Coun John Wilmot and Lee Moss at the leisure centre.