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The popular family climbing attraction GoClimb, located in Billingham Forum launched its first autism friendly ‘Quiet Climb’ on Sunday 17th March. The session is designed for visitors with sensory needs such as autism who may otherwise feel less comfortable in such environments.

The complimentary orientation session allocated places to a selection of local charities and places were offered to service users and their families. The feedback collected after the session will be then used to guide the regular monthly sessions going forward. The session gave users the perfect opportunity to enjoy the facilities (21 unique climbing walls, leap of faith, spiralling stepping stones and a 22ft drop slide) in a quieter, calmer environment. Visitors also received a ‘visual journey’ prior to their visit so they would know what to expect.

Leon Jones, Tees Active Managing Director explains, “We work closely with a variety of community groups to ensure everyone is able to experience our activities and that they can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone. It’s fantastic to see children and families affected by Autism having fun and enjoying climbing at Billingham Forum.”
Faith Jones, Clubs & Activities Manager at Daisy Chain Project said: “When we first heard about the Quiet Climb session we were really excited to share this with our families and they were eager to come along and try the session out. We will continue to show our support to such sessions as they mean so much to our families.”

Nicola McBean, parent and co-leader of Autism Parents Together (Tees Valley) said: “I think it’s great that GoClimb are introducing a Quiet Climb. Children with Autism and/or additional needs can struggle so much to cope in certain environments so by making simple adjustments to the session makes such a big difference. The launch session was brilliant and my two sons with autism had a great time and are looking forward to attending again! Well done GoClimb!”

Initiatives for the Quiet Climb session include:

– Limited noise (no music or climbing wall sound effects will be played).
– Reduced places (maximum of 16 people).
– Designated quiet area within GoClimb.
– Autism awareness trained staff.
– Visitors will be greeted by a member of the team at the entrance and shown to GoClimb to limit waiting times and avoid queuing.

Following the launch session, GoClimb will introduce a monthly Quiet Climb session which will take place on the third Sunday of every month, 10:00 – 11:00am. The sessions also allow for siblings and friends to come along also. The next session will take place on 21st April from 10:00am – 11:00am.

For more information about the autism friendly Quiet Climb and to book on to the next session please visit www.goclimb.co.uk/quietclimb

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The staff gave our nervous children loads of encouragement and never a negative word heard.Both children were flying by the end and desperate to come back.Gary Dickinson