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02 May 2018

Autism friendly library launches in Whitehaven

A welcoming, safe and stimulating environment for autistic young people is to be launched at Whitehaven Library on Saturday 12 May at 10.30am.

The library will unveil its new autism friendly pop-up sensory area, supported by a range of resources, which will be available regularly with dedicated weekly sessions.

The pop-up sensory area, which includes a large dark den featuring LED lighting, tactile accessories, lightbox and ear defenders, is designed specifically for people with autism. It will promote a more inclusive use of library facilities and enable people to enjoy a quiet safe space where they will feel welcome while also developing public awareness of autism.

Cumbria County Council’s Copeland Local Committee has invested £600 in these additional resources, which will enable Whitehaven Library to be the first of Cumbria’s main libraries to become autism-friendly. The local committee has already invested £600 for similar facilities at Millom Library earlier this year.

To mark the event, the Chair of Cumbria County Council’s Copeland Local Committee, Cllr Keith Hitchen, and the county council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, Cllr Deborah Earl, will formally open the sensory area.

This will be followed by an open session for local families to enjoy the library’s new facilities and there will be a raffle with various prizes and all proceeds will go to the National Autistic Society.

Cllr Hitchen said:

“Whitehaven Library plays a central role in the community and Copeland Local Committee was delighted to provide funding for the pop-up sensory area, which is a great way to raise awareness of autism and to promote the library as an ideal supportive venue.”

Cllr Earl added:

“I am delighted to be involved in opening this fantastic new facility. The council has worked alongside members of the business community, local parents, carers and people on the Autistic spectrum to develop an Autism friendly community, allowing people living with Autism and their families to access services and facilities that we all take for granted.”

Whitehaven Library already has a wide selection of autism books and sources of information and this additional range of resources will enable the library to develop its service and continue to support local community needs. This has been made possible by the generous support of the county council’s Copeland Local Committee in providing funding and encouragement to buy extra resources and develop a sensory area. 


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A welcoming, safe and stimulating environment for autistic young people is to be launched at Whitehaven Library on Saturday 12 May at 10.30am.