We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been awarded the UK’s first Autism Charter. Presented to us by Autism Alliance UK, this charter recognises THSH as the first ever venue in the UK that is officially autism-friendly.
Our Head of artistic programming, Richard Hawley, said: “We are passionate about making the arts accessible to people who have disabilities that may have previously stopped them from attending a concert venue, as such we have worked closely with Autism Alliance UK and Autism West Midlands to train our staff and create an environment that meets the needs and wants of people with disabilities.”
“By signing this charter we are committing to providing people with autism, and their families, the confidence to visit our venues, safe in the knowledge that their needs and requirements will be met and that trained, helpful staff will be at hand to help if needed.
“What this means is that we are creating an environment where people feel comfortable, and that we are equipped to communicate in the different ways people with autism choose to communicate. THSH couldn’t be prouder to be the first venue in the UK to achieve this charter, and we are confident that this is the start of a movement that will transform the way people with disabilities access the arts. While it is wonderful to be recognised at this point, we acknowledge that there is still a great deal of work to be done and we will continue to develop our events to ensure they are accessible to a much wider audience.”
The awarding of the charter comes just weeks after we produced the UK’s first bespoke, especially designed relaxed concert for people with autism – The Relaxed Concert featuring James Rowney and Orchestra of the Swan. A resounding success, the concert was designed for people with autism, by people with autism, including star of the show ventriloquist James Rowney and families in the Autism West Midlands network, produced by THSH, in partnership with Autism West Midlands and the Orchestra of the Swan.
However we aren’t stopping there and future plans include relaxed performance: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and other events focusing on those that care for people with disabilities.