W5 and NOW Group participants welcomed guests to W5 yesterday to launch a new Quiet Room for visitors who need to take a break from the main exhibition spaces, crowds and excitement of W5.
Over the past few months W5 and the NOW Group have co-designed this exciting new space, aimed at improving accessibility for visitors to W5. The space is targeted at people with additional access requirements including people with autism.
Located on Level 2 in W5, the look and feel of the new Quiet Room was designed by several NOW Group participants who themselves are potential users. The Quiet Room has cocooning high back sofas ideal for creating private space and reducing noise levels. It also has adjustable lighting and sounds to suit the user’s needs and a colour palette and decor that the participants found relaxing.
Speaking at the launch of the W5 Quiet Space Catherine O’Mullan, Chair of W5, said:
“This new space complements a transformational £4.5m investment programme at W5 to create eight new themed exhibition areas and experiences opening in June 2020. The new facility supports our aspiration to develop meaningful and inclusive engagement with under-served and underrepresented audiences. The £3m funding was awarded through the Inspiring Science Fund and a further £1.5m invested by the Odyssey Trust.”
Maeve Monaghan, CEO NOW Group, said:
“Our participants were thrilled to work with W5 on the design of the new Quiet Space. People with learning difficulties or autism really are experts at helping organisations understand how to make their services or spaces more user-friendly. W5 has led the way by initially becoming JAM Card friendly and this next step is a welcome further commitment to improving accessibility.”
The Quiet Room follows on from a survey undertaken in 2018 by Specialisterne NI for W5, targeted at visitors with autism and is one of a series of adjustments undertaken to widen public engagement at W5.