Trip to Etihad Stadium

Rochelle Followes by Rochelle Followes Additional Needs

Rochelle Followes

Rochelle Followes

I am parent to a gorgeous little blue eyed boy who has complex needs. I have a Facebook page, 'my daily miracle' where I share our life with others...

We went on quite a few adventures over summer, as well as trying out new things. Volleyball was a particular favourite of Zachariah's during a stay and place session at the Hospice.

However, sticking with the sporty theme, there is one day that has really stuck out,the VIP trip to the Etihad Stadium to watch a Manchester City match!

This huge opportunity came as a big surprise over the summer as the sports coordinator from Zachariah's school was seeking out families who would like to try out their new box.

The school has a special connection with City, they come in and do sessions with the children regularly, therefore the sports coordinator has been involved in making this new box as suitable for children with disabilities as she could.

We would be lying if we claimed to be huge footy fans, but we’ve always enjoyed both Mens and Womens World Cups, especially this year as I went to school with one of the England players and didn't shut up about it to Zachairah who was very excited.

We do however, have some very close friends who are huge Manchester City fans, and therefore Zachariah was naturally a supporter whether he liked it or not.

The day itself could not have gone any more perfectly, we were treated like royalty from our very first interaction over the phone, to waving goodbye in the carpark.

We arrived a few hours early to avoid congestion, had designated parking and were very quickly greeted at the car by some extremely friendly faces who welcomed us wholeheartedly.

They introduced themselves, one grabbed our bags, whilst the other took control of Zachariah's wheelchair. It was so lovely!

Getting into the stadium was a swift as could be, we were fast tracked straight through after a sharp bag check (Zachariah could have got the memo and come with less baggage.. 4 packed bags!). We then skipped through the VIP lounge and headed to our Box..The Sensory Box.

We were utterly blown away as the door was opened. We could not keep the smile of our faces as we stepped inside a beautiful space to watch the game. The was a huge window to look upon the match, article grass for flooring, clear walls for simplicity, kitchen accessories, refreshments and place to put equipment and meds.

It was warm. It was safe. It was quiet.

If this was not perfect enough, there was another door. Behind was a sensory room. Lights, interactive floor, bubble tube, vibration. There was a stock of sensory toys and ear defenders. It was perfect. I felt at last we were understood as a family.

In addition to this we also had our own seating in the stadium if Zachariah was able to sit outside and get the full atmosphere of the match. Which he did!

He absolutely loved every single second of it! With so many anxieties leading up, which had previously made going to a football match seem impossible, we felt at ease.

Zachariah shouted when everyone cheered, and laughed when everyone booed. He loved the atmosphere so much.

Although Zachariah was able to watch the game outside, it gave us comfort knowing that if it became too much, we could just pop inside and sooth him in the sensory room.

Having Zachariah's needs understood and met in such a beautiful way has meant the world to Tim and I.

But we were also able to give feedback and help make it even more accessible, with this new partnership, we can help give other families a time of their life!

We had such an amazing experience and cannot wait to go again, I mean Zachariah has his full kit now, must make use of it.


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