Carrickfergus Amphitheatre has introduced ‘quiet hour’ sessions for people with autism and sensory issues.

The sessions got underway on 15 January, which is a first for any of the centres in Mid and East Antrim.

The hour slots include a sensory swim on Wednesdays from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and a fitness suite hour on Thursdays from 1-2 pm.

During these times there will be no music, sensory-friendly toys (small pool area) and no PA announcements – except in the case of emergency.

It is hoped similar sessions will be rolled out across the two other leisure centres in Ballymena and Larne if they are successful in Carrickfergus.

Councillor Peter Johnston, who put forward the recommendation of quiet hour sessions, said: “I am delighted to see the introduction of the quiet hour sessions in Carrickfergus Amphitheatre which will offer better services to those with autism.

“Social environments can be noisy and busy and this prevents many people in our community from being able to fully enjoy the services on offer.

“These sessions will offer people with autism the opportunity to come along and enjoy the use of our leisure centres without hesitancy.”