Award-winning Adam uses his experience to create autism-friendly tours

October 2016

West Midlands Volunteer Awards

An inspirational UCB graduate has triumphed at the West Midlands Volunteer Awards, in recognition of creating ‘relaxed’ autism-friendly tours at a popular visitor attraction.

Adam Sutcliffe-Brown scooped both the Young People’s Award and the overall Excellence Award for transforming tours at the Coffin Works, home of the historic Newman Brothers factory in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

The 25-year-old, who is himself autistic, used his first-hand knowledge to create a less intense experience for the senses.

Through reducing background noise, providing a quiet room with mood lighting, using clear language and providing a step-by-step guide outlining what to expect before, during and after the tour; Adam has helped to make the Coffin Works a stress-free destination for families.

He said: “Even a small unexpected noise can trigger a sensory attack in some people. It feels like being punched over and over again; it’s an assault on the senses. Our relaxed tours are tailored to make visitors with autism feel totally comfortable.”

Adam, who also works part-time at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, graduated from UCB with a first class degree in Tourism Business Management. He thanked staff at the University’s Academic Skills Centre (ASC) for their help.

He said: “I have finally got to where I am because other people have accepted me for who I am, and guided me to use my strengths. I am proud to be an autistic person. I think logically, I analyse rationally and I speak honestly and straight-forwardly. After many years of bullying, it’s taken me a long time to be in a position to say that.”

Linda Riches, an Academic Skills Centre lecturer, said she was proud of Adam’s continued achievement. She added: “Adam was a hard-working and committed student and it’s clear he’s now putting that passion into his volunteering work.”

Adam is a champion of the national charity, Autistic UK, and Project Aspie, a social enterprise.  He is pictured with Sarah Falkland, Awards’ ceremony host and Midlands Today presenter, and Hugh James from Arts Council England.

Photo credit: Ironbridge Gorge Museums

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