My name is Gary and I am one of the founders who started the Nottingham Board and Wargames Club with Matt Anderson, then I moved forward with HobbySpotz and Now LeadBelt Arena. I have been in the industry on and off for over 3 decades and have a good understanding of the spaces, business and trends within Tabletop gaming and gaming in general. So with my wife, Helen, and others from our little collective over at HobbySpotz, we started to look at gaming and the space as somewhere to help others be themselves.
For me, as one of the founders of The Nottingham, Games Club, HobbySpotz and now LeadBelt Gaming, my personal experience as a parent of children who are neural divergent, on the autism spectrum, and with ADHD, has played a significant role in shaping the store’s focus on inclusivity and diversity. As someone who understands the unique needs of this community, my wife Helen has made it our mission to create a safe and welcoming space where individuals can be themselves and enjoy the hobby we all love.
Through my experience as a parent and now a grandparent, I’ve come to understand the importance of providing a space where individuals on the spectrum and those with ADHD or part of the LGTBQ+ community can feel comfortable and accepted. I have also come to realize that traditional gaming spaces can be overwhelming and overstimulating for some individuals and that a more inclusive approach is needed to make the hobby accessible to everyone.
Through our experiences as parents and now grandparents, we’ve come to understand the importance of providing a space where individuals on the spectrum and those with ADHD
– Gary & Helen Powell
Where members of the LGTBQ+ community can feel comfortable and accepted.
– Gary Powell
With this in mind, both myself and Helen have worked hard to create a space that caters to the needs of individuals. we have introduced created events that are quieter gaming sessions and other activities that allow individuals to participate at our own pace and in our own way. We have also made sure that the store’s staff are trained to understand the needs of this community, and that we are equipped to provide support and guidance when needed. As well as create a business that caters to our needs. By doing so, HobbySpotz has and does provide a safe and welcoming space for individuals with neurological differences but has also helped to promote inclusivity and acceptance in the broader community. This ethos has come across to LeadBelt Gaming Arena
My own and Helen’s experiences with our children have taught us that individuals with more complex needs often struggle with social interaction and may have difficulty finding activities that interest them. As such, we set out to create a space where individuals with these conditions could come together to share their hobbies and connect with others who share similar interests. By offering a wide range of hobby-related products and services, as well as organizing events and workshops, HobbySpotz has become a hub for individuals on the whole spectrum, and I hope so will LeadBelt Gaming Arena.
But HobbySpotz is more than just a store. It is a community that values inclusivity, acceptance, and understanding. Myself and Helen have worked hard to ensure that our staff are knowledgeable about the needs of our customers and that everyone who visits the store feels welcome and valued. Helen has also worked and liaised with local organisations and support groups to offer resources and assistance to individuals and families in the community.
Another important aspect of HobbySpotz’s success has been our emphasis on education advocacy and more importantly engagement. We have worked tirelessly, and Helen has been very active in raising awareness about the needs of individuals with neurological differences and advocating for policies and programs that promote inclusivity and acceptance
In addition to offering a diverse range of products and services, LeadBelt Gaming Arena has more space and so will also host a variety of events and workshops that are specifically more tailored for individuals on the various spectrums. These events provide a safe and welcoming space for participants to engage in our hobbies and connect with others who share similar interests. we also provide opportunities for individuals to learn new skills and develop new friendships, which can be invaluable for individuals who may struggle with social interaction.
And it’s also about my chance to get more gaming in, I love to play games and honestly, want to see what’s out there.