From the New Year, a local leisure centre will be introducing its new ‘quiet hour’ initiative.
Designed to promote living well with autism for members who prefer quieter areas, and supported by Autism East Midlands, Hucknall Leisure Centre will hold their quieter hour every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 10:30am and 11:30am.
Many autistic people can find going into a gym with loud music an anxious and uncomfortable experience and staff at the Hucknall site, which is operated by Everyone Active in partnership with Ashfield District Council, are aiming to combat that after recognising there was a need for autism specific activities to help support the families of people living with autism.
The community engagement team at Hucknall have delivered Nottingham County Council approved training on autism awareness to 15 colleagues at the leisure facility – with more being planned in after the New Year.
The ‘quiet hour’ will see the gym music turned down or off completely, promote mindful exercises and posters put up explaining what quiet hour is to other gym users.
The implementation of ‘quiet hour’ is the latest move by Hucknall Leisure Centre to be more inclusive for individuals diagnosed with autism.
In October, the site also launched its Twilight Swim Scheme – a swimming lesson that is designed to bring families and friends together of people who have autism.
Lammas Leisure Centre also hold an Active Autism Skate and Festival Hall Leisure Centre also recently introduced an exclusive Skate and Bounce session.
Cllr John Wilmott, Council Member for Hucknall North says “This is a great initiative that makes our leisure services available to a wider audience. The Council, along with Everyone Active are committed to making our leisure centres and activities as accessible as possible. This is just one initiative we deliver for those living with autism.
“We hope that people come along and enjoy these sessions, health & wellbeing is an important part of everyone’s life and we want to make exercise accessible to all.”
Deanna Housley, general manager at Hucknall Leisure Centre, said: “Statistics shows 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 Silent Hour is another important step in the right direction to ensure that they will have a much calmer and quieter experience moving forward.”