Garioch Leisure Centre and Sport Aberdeen’s Beach Leisure Centre and Linx Ice Arena are the latest organisations to receive the Autism Friendly Award.

Autism Friendly Award winners.

The North East now boasts the only sport and leisure centres in Scotland to be certified as ‘autism-friendly’.

As part of our Autism Friendly Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire project, Garioch Sports Centre and Sport Aberdeen’s Beach Leisure Centre and Linx Ice Arena have improved their accessibility for autistic customers. 

Staff have taken part in awareness sessions, designated quiet areas have been created in the buildings, and regular quiet sessions will be held. 

Sport Aberdeen has also created an online film to help autistic customers prepare for their visit.

Jenny Paterson, director of The National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “I’m so pleased that both Garioch Sports Centre and Sport Aberdeen’s Beach Leisure Centre and Linx Ice Arena have achieved the Autism Friendly Award.

“We know that two thirds of autistic people in Scotland feel socially isolated – and we also know that very small adjustments can often make a big difference, meaning they can access and enjoy the places that many of us take for granted. The Autism Friendly Award encourages organisations to learn about autism and make these adjustments.”

Colin Taylor, Sport Aberdeen Chairman, commented: “Being awarded the Autism Friendly Award is testament to Sport Aberdeen’s ongoing commitment to changing lives and inspiring people through sport and physical activity. 

“We look forward to working with The National Autistic Society in the future. Moving forward it is my hope that we can create an autism-friendly environment in all the Sport Aberdeen venues throughout the city. 

“This is a brilliant step forward in breaking down barriers and striving towards making Aberdeen the most active city in Scotland by 2020, by and creating more opportunities for people of all abilities to get active in the North East.”

Nicola Park, Out of Schools Club manager at Garioch Sports Centre, said: “We have been working towards achieving the Autism Friendly Award over the last few months and we are absolutely delighted to have been able to achieve this. We have worked closely with The National Autistic Society Scotland in upskilling the team here so they have the knowledge and skill set to support our autistic users within our facilities and activities.”

As part of our Autism Friendly Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire project, which is delivered with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire health and social care partnerships, we are working with local businesses to help them improve their accessibility and secure the Autism Friendly Award. The Award was given to Aberdeen Football Club earlier this year, and we are currently working with Sport Aberdeen, Union Square, Peterhead Football Club, Inverurie Rail Station and Crathes Castle. 

We are keen to support more organisations across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to become autism-friendly. To find out more about the award, please email campaign.scotland@nas.org.uk.