The club follows in the footsteps of a number of leading retailers around the UK, who have launched similar initiatives to ensure stores are more welcoming for visitors with autism.

MFC prides itself on being an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, and works closely with MFC Foundation on the RiversideBySide campaign to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion around the club.

Jo-Ann Swinnerton, the club’s Head of Retail, said: “Launching an Autism Hour is something that’s very important to us and is another step for us in our efforts to make everybody welcome at the Riverside Stadium.

“By doing this we hope we can assist people with the challenges they face when shopping and also those who are socially anxious.”

Helen Jaques from Main – Taking Autism Personally said: “By opening an ‘Autism Hour’ at the store Middlesbrough Football Club has continued to show its commitment to supporting those members of our community who face the day-to-day struggles living with autism causes.”

Teesside Park already operates an ‘Autism Hour’ and Centre Manager Mike Clarke is delighted to see the club follow suit.

“It’s brilliant to see the MFC official club store introduce an Autism hour, something we have been doing at Teesside Park every Saturday between 9am and 10am for some time,” he said. “It’s so important that each and every shopper feels comfortable and included and enjoys their time whenever they choose to shop.”

Initiatives for the Autism Hour at the MFC Store will include -

  • All noise will be silenced during this time, no radios or tv and lowered voices from staff.
  • Shirt printing machines will be reduced to one printer and the alarm volume will be lowered.
  • All lighting in-store will be dimmed for this period.
  • Automatic doors will be overridden to manual to reduce noise and movement.
  • Staff will be briefed on how to assist supporters.

The Autism Hour will start on Sunday March 3 and will run from 3.30pm - 4.30pm.