Station set for autism award

Scotrail staff members Scott Thomson, Steve Ewen and Emma Morrice at Inverurie station
Scotrail staff members Scott Thomson, Steve Ewen and Emma Morrice at Inverurie station

Inverurie is set to have the UK’s first autism-friendly railway station.

As part of an initiative to raise understanding of the condition in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, the ScotRail-run station will take steps to achieve the Autism Friendly Award.

Administered by the National Autistic Society Scotland. the award recognises organisations that ensure autistic visitors can access and enjoy their venues.

Over the coming weeks, a group of autistic volunteers will visit Inverurie station to explain what they find challenging and suggest changes that could be made.

All station staff will also take part in an autism awareness raising session.

It is the latest in the North-east to commit to achieving the Autism Friendly Award – alongside Union Square, Aberdeen Football Club, Sport Aberdeen and Peterhead FC.

Jenny Paterson, director of the National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “Two thirds of autistic people in Scotland feel socially isolated – but we also know that very small adjustments can often make a big difference, meaning they can access and enjoy the places that many of us take for granted.

“Inverurie is the first train station in the whole of the UK to take on the challenge of achieving our award. We’re so pleased that its staff and the whole ScotRail team are supporting our project.”

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “We welcome the opportunity to support the society’s ambitions to raise understanding of autism in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and are currently progressing plans to make Inverurie station autism friendly.

“Even small changes can make a world of difference to people living with autism and will hopefully give them additional confidence when travelling by train.”

The Autism Friendly Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire projects are being delivered in partnership between The National Autistic Society Scotland, and Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnerships.

The projects aims include increasing awareness of autism in the North-east.