Sunday the 2nd April is World Autism Awareness Day, and Cheltenham Town F.C. have made our game against Burton Albion on Saturday 1st a dedicated Autism Awareness fixture, using the day to promote understanding around the issues that affect those living with autism and those who support them.
World Autism Awareness Day recognises and spreads awareness for the rights of people with autism and spotlights the challenges that they and others living with autism face every day.
At Cheltenham Town, the Robins Trust and CTFC Community Trust, we strive to ensure that football is inclusive and accessible to all those who follow our team. This is the perfect time to celebrate some of the success stories from the work that has been taking place at the club this season.
14-year-old Noah Millington was appointed as the club’s first Ambassador for this season. Noah is a pupil at Alderman Knight, a school which caters for children with complex and additional needs and moderate learning difficulties. Noah, his sister Daisy, also a pupil at Alderman Knight, and dad, John, are all season ticket holders at Cheltenham. Whilst Noah has been able to enjoy some great experiences around the club and on matchdays, and feedback his activities to his teachers and peers at school, the Club are using this as an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the diversity of needs within its fanbase, and how to create a safe and welcoming space for all.
Noah says “My favourite thing about being Autism Ambassador for CTFC is helping other people with autism understand what it can be like to go to a game. I enjoyed getting to sit in the commentary box and watch a match from there. I also got a copy of FIFA 23 that was given to me by the club. I also really liked having a TV interview by the BBC to help tell everyone about my ambassador role and how good the club are.”
Football mad student George Lambert is delighted with landing a volunteering role at Cheltenham Town selling programs to supporters. George is 21 and a student at the National Star College at Ullenwood. He gets an opportunity to chat to people he doesn’t know and to practice his money-handling skills when he helps the club sell matchday programs to fans at Whaddon Road.
National Star is a specialist college for young adults with disabilities, aged 18 – 25 years old, based at Ullenwood. Many of the students, like George, want to play an active role in their local communities, and are growing in confidence as a result. George loves to stay and watch the match after he has finished his volunteering stint and loves cheering on The Robins.
Volunteers like George, make an enormous contribution on matchdays, not just with practical tasks, but also by cementing the teamwork and camaraderie of the football community. Well done, George, it’s been great having you on board with us this season and we’re so pleased that you’re enjoying it too!
Guests from Alderman Knight School, The National Star Centre, and The National Autistic Society will be joining us to enjoy the match on Saturday 1st April, the dedicated Autism Awareness fixture, and cheering the team on.
Come on you Robins!