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Tower Museum staff receive Autism Impact Award

28 June 2018

Staff at the Tower Museum have been officially accredited for their work in making the facility Autism friendly, being presented today with an Autism Impact Award from Autism NI.

The award was welcomed by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor John Boyle, who praised the work of the team in promoting access and inclusion for all.

“This is a fantastic achievement by the Tower team who are already renowned for their friendly service,” he declared. “This will further enhance the visitor experience at the Museum and ensure that even more people can enjoy the many exhibitions and collections on show.

“It’s one of Council’s priorities to enhance wellbeing through cultural experiences and this award will mean more opportunities to engage with all members of our community.”

As Northern Ireland’s largest Autism charity, Autism NI has developed the Impact Awards to help organisations create a more ‘Autism friendly environment’ for visitors. The award has been designed to better understand any staff and customers who may have Autism and also how to adapt the museum environment to support this.

Through attaining the award, 30,000 individuals and families living with Autism in Northern Ireland that previously may have been excluded will now be able to access exhibitions and workshops.

Autism Champion at the Tower Museum, Betty Doherty, said the team were delighted with the acknowledgement. “The process of training for the award and the adjustments we have made throughout the Tower Museum have really enabled us to gain a better understanding of the needs of people with Autism. We are delighted that the museum will now be a more welcoming space for those with Autism and give them the confidence to engage with us more readily.”

In order to attain the award, the museum has developed a number of Autism friendly strategies and programmes. The Autism Champions have made adjustments to ensure that the museum is Autism accessible through staff training and providing reasonable adjustments to their venue such as increasing visual signage, providing access to a quiet room, and designing engagement workshops specifically to meet the needs of people with autism. The team have also worked on providing a range of sensory adjustments and information to visitors and updating their website to include useful information for visitors with Autism.

Visit the museum website to find out more information about the Autism support available www.towermuseumlearning.co.uk

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