The Manchester United Foundation’s disability and inclusion team has developed and launched a new sensory experience of Old Trafford so that fans can still get the feels, sights, sounds and even smells of a matchday from home.
The story is primarily aimed at young supporters with sensory needs and has been produced in partnership with Bag Books, a charity that provides multi-sensory books for people with learning disabilities. But anyone longing for that Old Trafford matchday experience while stadiums remain closed to fans can still join in with the accompanying video.
The journey to Old Trafford starts at home and will take fans through every aspect of a typical matchday experience, down to putting on a shirt and riding the tram to the stadium.
A fan or piece of paper wafting can be used to replicate the breeze you would normally feel when the tram doors open and you step off at the Old Trafford stop.
Replicating buying a souvenir scarf from one of the merchandise stands en-route to the stadium, buying a programme from one of the many kiosks dotted around, even handing your ticket over at the turnstiles and being scanned by a steward with a security wand are all part of the experience.
Inside the stadium there is singing and flag-waving, while grass, carpet or a rug can be used to mimic the feel of the famous Old Trafford pitch. The experience covers everything from getting half-time refreshments to even the feel of that typical Manchester rain on the way back home.
Everything you need for the experience features in the prop list at the start of the video.
The story is already delivered at special schools partnered with the Foundation.
Elaine Curran, lead practitioner at Kingfisher Special School in Oldham, said: “The sensory story has enabled children to experience something they might never encounter. For many of the children an actual matchday would be too overwhelming and so by engaging with the sensory story they can have the experience in a safe environment at school or home. For the children lucky enough to visit Old Trafford this story allows us to prepare them for the sights and sounds they might encounter.”
Manchester United Foundation uses football to engage and inspire young people to build a better life for themselves and unite the communities in which they live. Dedicated staff deliver football coaching, educational programmes and personal development, providing young people with opportunities to change their lives for the better. Find out more: www.mufoundation.org.