A pilot scheme at Pudsey Leisure Centre which creates a safe and inclusive space for individuals with autism, ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions is set to continue – and expand to other gyms in Leeds.
Loud music and bright lights can be a trigger for neurodivergent people, making activity in a gym environment very challenging; the aim of the low sensory sessions is to remove these barriers and make the gym space more accessible.
The low sensory gym sessions started at Pudsey Leisure Centre after learning from people with neurodiverse conditions what would support them to access the gym.
Following positive feedback received from customers, Active Leeds is expanding them to the John Charles Centre for Sport, John Smeaton, Middleton, as well as continuing at Pudsey.
Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said: “Following fantastic feedback from customers at the Pudsey Leisure Centre, I am thrilled to say that we are now rolling out these sessions more widely. Regular exercise is crucial to the physical and mental wellbeing of people, and we want to ensure that we are providing a space in our leisure centres which is accessible to everyone and where customers feel comfortable and supported.
“We are continuing to work closely with partners to offer as much support as possible for neurodivergent people across our service. Working with Advonet, People in Action and Public Health we are delivering specific disability awareness training to gym instructors and staff. We are also working closely with Breeze Leeds to support autistic and disabled children when activities are held in our facilities.”
Session times across all centres will be Wednesday, (6.30pm–8pm) and Sunday, (1pm–2.30pm). Customers visiting during those hours that would like to listen to music are encouraged to bring headphones.