General News:

Local charities have said yes to boosting awareness of hidden disabilities


An Aberdeen partnership project has rolled out an initiative aimed at boosting confidence in participants with additional support needs at a Granite City swimming pool.

Registered charities Me Too! and Sport Aberdeen recently launched Boost Bands, discreet wrist bands which can be worn during your visit to the Beach Leisure Centre which subtly notify trained staff of any hidden disabilities.

Boost Bands, which are free of charge and optional, are thought to be the first of their kind Scotland and have been designed by the local charities to encourage people of any age or ability to participate in sport and physical activity.

The initiative aims to create an environment of understanding and is designed to boost independence and confidence in the users with all staff at the Beach leisure Centre familiar with the bands.

The long-term plan is to see all Sport Aberdeen venues across the city taking part in the initiative.

Sport Aberdeen and Me Too! have previously taken steps towards breaking down barriers to participation, regardless of ability, by introducing relaxed swimming and skate sessions and featuring virtual tours of venues on the website which can be viewed prior to visiting.

Keith Gerrard, Director of Operations and Asset Development, said:

“Boost Bands are designed to empower those who chose to wear them by creating communication and common understanding between participants and staff.

“Sport Aberdeen is proud to be working with Me Too! to champion a move to get more people more active regardless of age or ability and we are committed to inspiring people to take part in sport and physical activity in the North East. It is our hope to eventually roll out Boost Bands in all of our venues across the city.”

Phionna McInnes, Me Too! chief executive, also commented:

“Me Too! is delighted to see our ongoing relationship with Sport Aberdeen continue with the introduction of boost bands. Boost Bands can empower parent/carers to have confidence to allow their cared for to have increased independence without having to explain to multiple staff members of their additional support needs.

“This is a discreet communication tool that allows staff to understand they may have to adapt their approach or language with the wearer. This may be beneficial for hearing impaired participants who remove their hearing aids when entering the water, for example.”