Playing Advantage participant enjoys behind the scenes experience

Date: 15 Mar 2019


A young Coventry blogger with autism has been given behind-the-scenes media access to a Wasps match by club staff after impressing them with one of his articles about the venue’s new sensory room.

Ten-year-old William Newton plays in the Wasps Playing Advantage programme supported by DS Smith, and was given an exclusive insight into the Club’s matchday media operations during Wasps’ recent clash against Sale Sharks.

The opportunity came about after William impressed his coaches after writing a blog about his experience at Wasps’ pitch-facing sensory room, which caters for adults and children with autism and other disabilities.

The specially-equipped room has beanbags, chairs and high stools to watch the action in comfort, and an adjacent space with calming sensory equipment such as bubble tubes and fibre-optic lights.

William’s mother, Judy, spoke of William’s excitement at being part of the Wasps team for the day, which involved meeting Wasps’ media and communications team, a tour of the media suite, and sitting in on the post-match press conference.

She said: “William was thrilled to be given the chance to experience the media industry in more detail.

“There were so many highlights from the day, including seeing the players arrive, the nerves and intensity in the changing rooms and standing pitch side for their warm up. 

“He loved being so close to Dai Young and Steve Diamond in the press box during the match, and even got the chance to ask some questions in the post-match press conference.

“He’s really enjoyed seeing what goes on and he learned a lot from the day.

“William loves going to the sensory room at Ricoh Arena, it’s an amazing facility that other clubs can look up to.

“He also loves being part of Wasps’ Playing Advantage programme. He’s been there from the start, the coaches do a fantastic job with all the kids, and now he’s going to Belfast in June as part of the Wasps Disability Tag Rugby Team.

“I’d like to thank Jordan Young and the team at Wasps for giving William this level of access and taking an active interest in his personal development.”

The Playing Advantage programme supported by DS Smith runs weekly sessions for people with disabilities aged between six and 19, with a variety of rugby-inspired activities led by Wasps community coaches.

Jordan Young, Community Development Officer at Wasps, added: “It’s a huge part of our mission to provide opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise get to experience being part of a team or have access to regular exercise.

“This also extends to opportunities linked to interests and hobbies, and in William’s case, we’d like to thank the media and communications team for being more than willing to let William come and join them.

“Hopefully the day provided some lifelong memories that will inspire him to pursue a career in the media industry.”

To find out more about Wasps activities in the community, visit www.wasps.co.uk/community.