Showing posts with label Premier League. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Premier League. Show all posts

January 8, 2022

Sensory Room at Watford Football Club (soccer)

There's an exciting new viewing area at the Watford Football Club Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, England, a small-sized football (soccer) sports arena that first opened in 1922 and has capacity for 22,200 fans.

The "Sensory Room" at Watford Football Club is a specifically designed stadium viewing room for children with autism and their families. There are only two of their kind (Arsenal FC opened a smaller sensory room in 2017) among football club stadiums around the world. The Sensory Room was installed in 2019 to provide a special place for these kids and their families that helps to buffer the loud sports arena environment that can often be overwhelming or debilitating to people with this condition.

The room is available for booking by any child and their family or caregiver with a doctor's note. The special room’s design is already winning several awards for its accessible design and forward-thinkingness in inclusive practices.

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What’s really important about this Sensory Room is that Watford is making a statement about financial and space management that prioritizes mental and emotional health in professional sports. It’s a statement of inclusivity and choosing people over profits. In the prime arena real estate the Sensory Room occupies, most arenas would stall another bar or premium viewing box. You can see in the image below that the Sensory Room occupies prime viewing space that could provide hundreds of more seats to gain revenue from:

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Watford’s Sensory Room features several supportive attributes including easy entry points to the stadium so the children don’t have to experience the crowds and turnstiles, a calming down area in the rear of the Sensory Room with special lights, water tubes, calming projections, and comfort seating like bean bags; emotion-coded non-verbal labels to communicate family needs and emotional states easily with staff, and provides complete isolation from the surrounding bright lights and loud noises of the arena. The team’s happy yellow and black mascot, Harry the Hornet, makes regular visits to say hi to the children and their families in the Sensory Room.

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So if you like to watch football (soccer), consider supporting Watford’s forward-thinking club that makes inclusive decisions in their stadium planning.
And if you’re a manager at a sports venue, consider making positive changes at your sports or public facility for people with different abilities. Create opportunities and remove barriers so that all people can enjoy your venue.
You can see more of Watford's Sensory Room in the below video:


September 29, 2021

First Carbon Net Zero Soccer Game: Tottenham Hotspurs vs Chelsea 9.19.2021

Sports bring us together. They give us entertainment and they allow us to settle our political differences in ways other than wars. In almost every American household there is at least one sport regularly playing on the television. In our house that sport is football -- or "soccer" as us Americans know this sport by.

Popular all around the world and huge in every country other than the United States, soccer has been a catalyst for youth in some of the poorest places of the world. It’s popular in these poor places because of tradition but also because it only takes a simple ball and a small target to use as a goal, whereas other sports usually take much more gear or need more people on the team to be a good game.

One of the largest and most well-funded soccer leagues, with some of the best players in the world, is the English Premier League in the United Kingdom. The Premier League and Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club recently made an exciting sustainable leadership choice: to hold the first ever carbon net zero soccer game between teams Tottenham and Chelsea on September 19, 2021. Tottenham Hotspurs partnered with Sky news and the UK government to tackle this monumental reduction in carbon footprint and to bring attention to the climate emergency we're all currently fighting.

Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club Stadium

Carbon net zero status for events and buildings means that the emissions of carbon produced by that venue has been calculated and that sustainability strategies have been put in place to reduce the carbon being generated to zero, with nothing harmful being emitted into our planet's environment.

Calculations for carbon emissions for the soccer game would have captured everything from how the stadium is powered, how far the food travels to get to the stadium and how it is grown; emissions created by how players and attendees travel to the game; and impacts of the water used throughout the stadium. Greenhouse gas emissions calculations are a very complex data gathering and analysis process with many different indicators weighing in on the carbon emissions calculation.

Sustainability efforts are also incomplete without social justice as a key component. The Premier League, its players, and staff are already well known for their progressive support of human equality.

Carbon zero status was achieved through many different methods for the Tottenham-Chelsea soccer game, including the purchasing and planting of carbon offsets. Offsets will unfortunately always need to be used for large scale events and structures to reach carbon net zero status no matter the reduction techniques used, so this isn’t something we’re going to change soon.

Some of the techniques that Tottenham Football Club used to make this a sustainable soccer game were reducing the overall energy usage to power the game and using sustainable sources for energy; encouraging proper waste management and recycling; and making dietary choices at the stadium that reduced travel distance of food and encouraged meatless or meat-alternative options. The club also encouraged their fans to make sustainable choices, such as taking transportation to the games in a way other than driving and to consider water conservation at home and at the stadium.

What’s really exciting is that the Premier League even chose to promote sustainability in this way. With millions of viewers across the world watching their games they can really make a statement about issues essential to human kind.

Remember that even really big things begin with really small steps: How can you positively affect our resources and our planet? Can you be a little more conscious about water or energy use throughout your day? As Gandhi once said, change begins with me. Changing our own behavior is the only effective route to saving our planet.

If you want to change the world, start with yourself.
Mohandas Gandhi

Tottenham Hotspurs soccer players and staff are passionate about their climate goals for the planet, calling themselves the Premier league‘s greenest club. Great job, Tottenham Hotspurs, for setting the new standard for soccer games around the world!

#amberclee #gamezero

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