Autism-friendly geek gaming session for young people starts in Wirral

A new autism-friendly session for young people who love gaming, comics and all things ‘geek’ is being piloted in Wirral.

The weekday session at Geek Retreat in Hoylake is run by Wirral-based charity Autism Together and offers a chance for 11-19 year olds with autism or social and communication difficulties to meet and make friends with other people who share their interests.

Autism Together is running this session as a pilot scheme until Christmas, aimed at young people who are currently unable to attend school and may be feeling isolated from their peers. There has been strong interest from youngsters wanting to access the sessions, but the scheme is due to end at Christmas unless Autism Together can find funding or sponsorship to continue into 2020.

Sarah Rixon, from Autism Together’s Children & Family Service, said: “Geek Retreat Wirral opened earlier this year and has grown into a popular hangout for those interested in trading card games, board games, comics, video games and general geek culture.

“As a regular visitor, I can say it is a fantastic place to hang out and embrace your inner geek, however some young people with autism and other social communication difficulties would find it difficult to visit on their own.

“Our sessions are run by two experienced support workers and are limited to six young people a time. This allows us to keep the sessions inclusive and interactive, while helping attendees through any anxiety they might feel.

“If you’re an organisation who’d like to partner with us to help fund these valuable sessions, please do get in touch.”

Mike Edwards, owner of Geek Retreat Wirral said: “At Geek Retreat we welcome people of all abilities to hang out in a relaxed setting, with food and drink available, and play their favourite games with people who share their love of all things geek.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our guests from Autism Together to these new sessions, to test the strength of their best Magic decks, challenge someone to a Warhammer battle or check out the latest video games.” 

Along with Geek Retreat Wirral, Autism Together is partnering with local cab firm Argyle Satellite Taxis to help provide pre-booked transport for those struggling to get to the meet-ups.

Danny McLeod of Argyle Satellite Taxis, said: “We’re pleased to be able to offer our support to help transport people who might find it difficult to attend the sessions and can even arrange for passengers to view the vehicle and meet the driver in advance, to ease any anxieties.”

To find out more about accessing the Geek Retreat sessions, call Autism Together’s Children & Family Service on 0151 666 9960.

If you can help with sponsorship or funding to run these sessions into next year, please contact Lisa Masters at Autism Together on 0151 334 7510 (ext 2549), email: lisa.masters@autismtogether.co.uk or message via Facebook: @autismtogetherUK 

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