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Alley Theatre becomes first venue to achieve Autism Impact Award

Thursday, 29 June 2017

THE Alley Theatre in Strabane has become the first arts and cultural venue in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to achieve an award recognising its commitment to becoming autism friendly.

Staff at the theatre were awarded with the Autism Impact Award by Autism NI at a special event on Saturday.

It is hoped that the Alley Theatre will be one of a number of arts and cultural venues across the council area to achieve the award by next year.

During Saturday's event, Deputy Mayor, John Boyle, presented certificates to staff who recently completed the full day workshop on fundamentals of autism and acknowledged the two successful 'autism champions', David Magee and Louise Boyce, who achieved AQA on features of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The centre was also presented with a plague for its achievements to becoming autism friendly.

Congratulating the staff on completion of the training and adaptions to the centre, Mayor Maolíosa McHugh says he is very supportive of the work being lead and implemented by the council through its Access and Inclusion Project, supported by Public Health Agency, to encourage arts and cultural venues to become more autism friendly and accessible to all.

"I am very much aware of the difficulties individuals with autism and their families experience on a daily basis in terms of social interaction and communication.

"Any proactive steps which provides support and creates a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder is welcome news. I am delighted that the council through its Access and Inclusion Project is doing its bit to make arts and cultural venues more accessible and autism friendly," he added.

 Christine English, Autism NI's development manager, added: "We are delighted to work in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council as they work to become an autism friendly council.

"Autism NI have been working with the council's Culture Section for over a year as part of the Access and Inclusion Project to provide training and support to a number of venues through our Impact Award Scheme, which awards and celebrates organisations who are committed to autism accessibility.

 "We congratulate the Alley Arts and Conference Centre on being the first venue in the area to achieve this award and look forward to continuing this great partnership to increase accessibility in other venues across the council."

For more information on DCSDC'S Access and Inclusion Programme contact louise.boye@derrystrabane.com or telephone 02871 253 253 extension 4349. Alternatively, textphone 02871 76646.

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