Newcastle Airport has become the first in the North of England to open a sensory area for passengers with hidden disabilities.
The area, which has been opened during Mental Health Awareness Week, provides a designated relaxing and safe environment for passengers with hidden disabilities, such as autism, dementia, sensory issues and mental health issues.
The calming sensory area has been specially designed to support relaxation and de-escalation for passengers who may need to escape when those busy airport surroundings become overwhelming.
Departing passengers who need to use it will be able to relax in the serene space before they fly – and airport staff can guide travellers safely to the location. The open area is free to use, and is aimed exclusively for passengers with hidden or physical disabilities.
The area features a specially-designed bubble tube, a calming LED fibre optic ‘softie’ and a disco ball – all of which are specially designed to stimulate the senses, as well as improve motor skills.
It is also completely padded to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for users.
“The passenger journey entails travelling through a busy environment – which can cause stress for people with hidden disabilities,” says Richard Knight, Chief Operating Officer, Newcastle Airport. “I think it is absolutely fantastic that we have been able to provide this new service and I hope that it will make a true difference to the passengers who will use it.”
The sensory area will have limited availability. However, passengers do not need to book for usage.