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Stadium of Light wins award for the Nathan Shippey Sensory Room

Sunderland AFC’s innovative Sensory Room at the Stadium of Light, developed for supporters who are affected by the noise levels in seating areas, has been recognised with a top honour at an annual award ceremony.


The Black Cats won the award for Best Marketing Initiative at the Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2016 after impressing an illustrious judging panel, selected for their individual experience and expertise in this category.

Inspired by a young Sunderland supporter, who the room is named after, the Nathan Shippey Sensory Room opened in August last year and has proved to be a popular addition to the stadium’s accessible facilities.

The first of its kind in football, the sensory room was developed after the club was contacted by Nathan’s parents Peter and Kate, who were trying to find a way for their son, who is autistic, to be able to watch football.

Nathan struggled to deal with the crowd noise and his parents found that watching the game from behind glass provided the most suitable environment for their son. Using the knowledge and expertise of the Shippey family of what was required to address the needs of supporters with sensory requirements, the club developed and built a bespoke room, with sensory equipment, which allows supporters to enjoy the game in a calm and suitable environment.

Sunderland AFC’s supporter liaison officer, Chris Waters, said: “The Sensory Room has been a fantastic addition to the stadium and is allowing supporters to attend games who may have previously been unable to do so.”

The Shippey family is now campaigning for similar facilities to be developed at other sporting venues, further details can be found at

From: Sunderland AFC


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Sensory Room launched at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light