Lightwater Valley, the award-winning family adventure park near Ripon in North Yorkshire, is usually a place for letting off steam, enjoying wild rides and cosying up with Rex, the Valleysaurus. Mindful that some of their visitors may prefer some quiet space, Tynisha Abdy who works at the park, runs a company called Visible Autism Ltd and she came up with an idea that gives children and families a new ‘Quiet Zone’ so they can chill out and relax away from the busier areas of the park.
Tynisha, who’s experience of the benefits of providing such a space comes from her own diagnosis of autism, spearheaded the project and she also designed the logo. The Quiet Zone is located within the Visitor Experience Office, the space is predominantly available to benefit those with Autism, but anyone is welcome who has a need to chill-out and relax in a calm atmosphere.
Tynisha says: “I knew that the park is all about inclusion and we want everyone to have their best time ever. For many children, a visit to a busy park can be daunting and often just knowing there is a quiet refuge is enough. For others, coming to use the Quiet Zone, gives them the option to interact with others and enjoy the excitement of the park in their own way. I was really happy that the team thought this was a good idea and more than happy to see it now open to visitors.”
Victoria Williams, GM at the park, added: “Tynisha came to us with an idea for a quiet space with the aim to ease some of the difficulties many of our guests face whilst in the park. You may see some of our staff members wearing this logo as a sticker or a lanyard to indicate that they are trained and have an understanding of Autism. It also signals the ‘Quiet Zone’ so guests can locate and access this space. We really welcome our staff coming up with such positive ideas. Tynisha has done a great job.”
As a member of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA), Lightwater Valley welcomes visits by disabled guests and will always do all that is possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. As part of their initial training, staff are briefed to be aware of those with difficulties with loud noises and busy areas. Other mindful arrangements at the park include visitors with certain disabilities who are unable to use conventional queue lines, may be eligible for a preferential wristband with the provision of the correct documentation (see website for details). The Discovery Woods have purposefully been landscaped for visitors with all accessibility needs as an escape from the park with walks set within the peace of nature.
Lightwater Valley recently announced they are looking to recruit a Child CEO to provide an insight into the experience of a 12-year-old or under visitor to the park. The new CCEO will be announced shortly.