Whitehaven Library’s New Autism area praised by Copeland’s MP

Whitehaven Library’s New Autism area praised by Copeland’s MP

The MP for Copeland has praised Whitehaven Library after the launch of its new Autism sensory area.

Trudy Harrison MP, and a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Autism, joined councillors and members of the public for the launch of Whitehaven Library’s autism friendly pop-up sensory area on Saturday.

The pop-up sensory area, which includes a large dark den featuring LED lighting, tactile accessories, lightbox and ear defenders, is designed specifically for people with autism.

The aim of the sensory areas is to promote a more inclusive use of library facilities and enable people to enjoy a quiet, safe space where they will feel welcome while also developing public awareness of autism.

Mrs Harrison, said: It is wonderful to see this second library facility become available in Copeland, helping families across the area to access the benefits of so many services and raising much needed awareness about autism at the same time.

“Support for autistic children and adults is limited in Cumbria, but improvements are being made.  I really do commend Cumbria County Council’s Cllr Mike Hawkins for his determination and tremendous advocacy to secure this important facility.”

Following the launch families were invited to join in on an open session to enjoy the library’s new facilities.

Whitehaven Library is encouraging people to join in on their weekly Autism friendly sessions every Saturday from 10:30am – 1:30pm and every alternate Thursday from 4pm – 6pm.

Cumbria County Council’s Copeland Local Committee has invested £600 in these additional resources, which will enable Whitehaven Library to be the first of Cumbria’s main libraries to become autism-friendly.

The local committee has already invested £600 for similar facilities at Millom Library earlier this year.

Cllr Hitchen said: “Whitehaven Library plays a central role in the community and Copeland Local Committee was delighted to provide funding for the pop-up sensory area, which is a great way to raise awareness of autism and to promote the library as an ideal supportive venue.”

Cllr Earl added: “I am delighted to be involved in opening this fantastic new facility. The council has worked alongside members of the business community, local parents, carers and people on the Autistic spectrum to develop an Autism friendly community, allowing people living with Autism and their families to access services and facilities that we all take for granted.”

Whitehaven Library already has a wide selection of autism books and sources of information and this additional range of resources will enable the library to develop its service and continue to support local community needs.

This has been made possible by the generous support of the county council’s Copeland Local Committee in providing funding and encouragement to buy extra resources and develop a sensory area.