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Disabled access at football


whiteroseram
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Wondered what people think to this and to Watford's statement at the bottom?  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38630964

I'll admit to bias here, my dad is disabled, not in a wheelchair but can only join me at the football if he's in more accessible seating and Derby have always been brilliant in my experience. My dad will rarely come to the football because he's not steady on his feet and in the crowd outside pre-game someone WILL accidentally nudge him and he'll fall over, so stewards have been known to walk him to his seat with me so no one could bump into him.

Personally I think there is demand for live football from disabled people but a large amount feel they wouldn't be able to go for various reasons and clubs need to be showing they're making the effort and show that they want anyone to be able to come to games. 

Thoughts?

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I have some sympathy with clubs, where "all known demand from disabled supporters has been met". Especially in old stadiums, where the costs of conversion and loss of standard seating is going to cost a hell of a lot more than the £25k fines for not complying.

Well done for DCFC though. I didn't realise we were one of the best at this.

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Its difficult and I dont think a club should make a decision because its cheaper to take the fine, but do understand the reluctance if they dont feel they can fill them.

How does it work? If a club has filled their capacity does the next person have to wait until one becomes free?

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When the wife and I saw the reporting of the Parliamentary Report in the news we were chuffed to see Derby recognised as one of the best in the country as they have always helped us (I have a wheelchair space at Pride Park) and make life easy (the stewards are great).

We went to the West Brom match and the difference was staggering. Yes the stewards were great, came and chatted with us disabled folk and had a laugh but the main wheelchair space was right at the front to the very left corner (if you are looking at the stand) and was only room for 6 wheelchairs. Not only that but it was awfully laid out.

Thats a basic image of how it was laid out. You came up the ramp on the bottom left and then were placed in one of the seat areas. If you were one of the unlucky folk in the bottom right of that image you had to ask the others to move to be able to get out to use the toilet. I was supposed to have my wheelchair nearer the middle but went with the very bottom slot as I was able to hobble to the loo whereas everyone else had more need to use their wheelchair to get to the toilet.

To make matters worse, if we didnt have the whole of the stand then we would of had to go past the home fans as the disabled toilets were in the opposite corner. The areas around the ground were awful too, the way out was up the massive hill between the two stands, the wife was all but dead by the time she got me to the top!

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5 minutes ago, Paul71 said:

Its difficult and I dont think a club should make a decision because its cheaper to take the fine, but do understand the reluctance if they dont feel they can fill them.

How does it work? If a club has filled their capacity does the next person have to wait until one becomes free?

Yeah, same as any other ticket waiting list, that is unless you are capable of using say an aisle seat for leg room rather than a front row seat/wheelchair space.

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I personally think any Premiership that hasn't got above adequate disabled facilities and support staff for disabled fans on matchdays should be fined heavily. Disgrace is used too often these days but this is. The money they are getting. It's unacceptable.

Down the leagues it is more understandable that facilities won't be that stellar but they should still have them and to a satisfactory standard. Obviously clubs such as Barnet or Morecambe won't be able to afford support staff but if people who accompanied the disabled person was free then fair enough.

I also think not enough consideration is given to people with mental health difficulties. It is surprising how many football fans up and down the land struggle with matchdays due to anxiety, ocd, and other disorders. They are expected to manage and fit in with the rest of the crowd.

Many can do this but for some it creates distress and inner conflict detracting from their overall enjoyment of the game and for some they cannot even do this and decide to not go.

Also people with autism or aspergers or that who are struggling with symptoms on the spectrum can also struggle too.

Not attending could be for a number of reasons. My own experiences are that if I cannot get an end seat or at least be guaranteed that many empty seats will be available come kick off then I won't go. This has pretty much meant I have not been able to access away matches with Derby yet. If the away end is full and I can't be guaranteed an end seat near the front preferably then i can forget about going. Due to the Rams superb away support this has proved difficult.

Maybe clubs could set aside seats for away games for people or allow fans to choose or request their preferred seats?

I'm not sure exactly how football can be made more accessible to this particular set of fans but more flexibility, help and understanding would go a long way in making fans of any disability more included, valued and part of the club. Most importantly though it would make clubs accessible for more people.

From my perspective again, I've found it a really tough first 6 months supporting Derby. The crowds and noise for someone with sensitivity and dislike even of these very things have been difficult to adjust to. The recent Forest game I felt quite overwhelmed and struggled to let go of the anxiety in favour of excitement that the Red dogs were getting a pasting.

Somebody on another thread recommended getting into the stadium early to avoid the crowds around the ground which is a fair point but I'd just get anxious sat in my seat hanging around for kick off too so it's finding the best solution. Now I just shut myself off, plough through the people, up to my seat and sit down and breathe. Before I know it it's kick off.

Car parking is an issue too. As I like rigidy, routine and certainty - parking at Derby is tough sometimes due to the sheer number of fans. The official car parks have disabled spots but these are for fans with blue badges who struggle with mobility. Certainly no issue with that but then there are fans like myself who would benefit greatly from a parking space here too.

My anxiety is severe at times and once again mental health sufferers get put on the back burner just because they are struggling with something that cannot be seen. I would argue that I would benefit from a guaranteed parking spot as much as someone who is of limited mobility. I can prove I have these difficulties and I think consideration should be given to all fans with restrictive conditions and not just to fans who visually appear to be disabled.

On the rare occasions I have purchased a car space at the ground when they have been available (rarely) then immediately lots of the anxiety disappears because there is no uncertainty. I know I have a spot, no worrying where I'm parking or having to arrive about 2 hours before kick off. I know where the car park is and i feel more comfortable and part of the distress on match day is reduced because of this.

Anyway, i think more needs to be done. A lot more. Across the board.

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59 minutes ago, RicME85 said:

When the wife and I saw the reporting of the Parliamentary Report in the news we were chuffed to see Derby recognised as one of the best in the country as they have always helped us (I have a wheelchair space at Pride Park) and make life easy (the stewards are great).

We went to the West Brom match and the difference was staggering. Yes the stewards were great, came and chatted with us disabled folk and had a laugh but the main wheelchair space was right at the front to the very left corner (if you are looking at the stand) and was only room for 6 wheelchairs. Not only that but it was awfully laid out.

 

Thats a basic image of how it was laid out. You came up the ramp on the bottom left and then were placed in one of the seat areas. If you were one of the unlucky folk in the bottom right of that image you had to ask the others to move to be able to get out to use the toilet. I was supposed to have my wheelchair nearer the middle but went with the very bottom slot as I was able to hobble to the loo whereas everyone else had more need to use their wheelchair to get to the toilet.

To make matters worse, if we didnt have the whole of the stand then we would of had to go past the home fans as the disabled toilets were in the opposite corner. The areas around the ground were awful too, the way out was up the massive hill between the two stands, the wife was all but dead by the time she got me to the top!

I think there was a tv program a few years ago following a group of disabled Charlton fans on an away trip to Derby and they were all very complimentary about their experience.

I remember as a kid watching Star Soccer and the disabled facilities at Coventry seemed to consist of a few of these beauties parked by the pitch!

Early-Disabled-Car.jpg

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1 hour ago, Tony Le Mesmer said:

 once again mental health sufferers get put on the back burner just because they are struggling with something that cannot be seen.

......and therefore easily verified.

I could name a few car blue badge holders who don't need them....Imagine how many thousands of dubious mental health sufferers would stick their hands in the air if the club said it would start making special arrangements for them. How do you prove or disprove that someone has an anxiety disorder or OCD?.

Not saying for one moment that you are not genuine, by the way, and I speak as someone who has had anxiety issues in the past but there are plenty of people who would take advantage and very quickly make any attempts to help, unworkable.

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3 minutes ago, Wolfie said:

......and therefore easily verified.

I could name a few car blue badge holders who don't need them....Imagine how many thousands of dubious mental health sufferers would stick their hands in the air if the club said it would start making special arrangements for them. How do you prove or disprove that someone has an anxiety disorder or OCD?.

Not saying for one moment that you are not genuine, by the way, and I speak as someone who has had anxiety issues in the past but there are plenty of people who would take advantage and very quickly make any attempts to help, unworkable.

With Personal Independance Payment validation. Currently there are 2 rates that disability allowance is paid out. The higher rate which includes mobility issues as the more serious element of disability and it is only higher rate of claimants that can apply for a blue badge.

Then you have a lower rate which is the one I am on. The severity of my issues are such that they deeply impact on my ability to find employment so I work from home a little now and go out volunteering too to improve my confidence again. As a consequence I get the assistance from the lower rate Personal Independence Payment for which I have a certificate for that is required when applying fo anything that may be reduced for people in receipt of such benefit.

This certificate could be the proof for people with mental health difficulties such as anxiety or whatever that is severe enough to affect their daily lives.

Those with diagnosis of being on the autistic spectrum or having aspergers could show their hospital letters.

Up until 5 years ago I was fine. Loved my job, reasonable social life and just getting on with things and after having the young un and stopping all that to be a stay at home dad all that changed.

Whether it was the responsibility or stress or increasing isolation added to my genetic autistic spectrum traits I've no idea but basically one minute I was driving to away games on my own at the other end of the country, banging a drum and singing for 90 minutes at the backs of the stands and the next I can barely go inside a football ground and look people in the eye anymore.

I'm not looking for reduced prices. I'd happily pay more if I could guarantee parking and a seat without any drunken / overly shouty sweaty aggressive fans near me.

I do make some concessions . It's a football match not the opera but you get the idea.

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DCFC couldn't do enough for my lad in preparation for our trip.Even down to offering to prepare him something to eat that he would like as he can't taste anything.

The atitude of the Sfo was that the club would provide anything we wanted,we were completely blown away by the clubs atitude and approach.

We're organised and don't need anything but that's aside the point.

I did ask my son and he just kept saying he needed to see Richard Keogh.

That's not what she mean't son!

Great from the cub(and this forum).

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1 hour ago, coneheadjohn said:

DCFC couldn't do enough for my lad in preparation for our trip.Even down to offering to prepare him something to eat that he would like as he can't taste anything.

The atitude of the Sfo was that the club would provide anything we wanted,we were completely blown away by the clubs atitude and approach.

We're organised and don't need anything but that's aside the point.

I did ask my son and he just kept saying he needed to see Richard Keogh.

That's not what she mean't son!

Great from the cub(and this forum).

That's great to hear John and shows DCFC in a very favourable light. We're all to keen to slate clubs when they are seen to be taking us fans for granted but there is so much great work, so many great people and so many extra miles that we don't get to hear about.

We should be as vocal about our praise for clubs as we are scathing when we're not happy IMO.

Glad you all had a fantastic time John. Hope the lad is as well as can be expected given the circumstances.

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10 hours ago, Tony Le Mesmer said:

That's great to hear John and shows DCFC in a very favourable light. We're all to keen to slate clubs when they are seen to be taking us fans for granted but there is so much great work, so many great people and so many extra miles that we don't get to hear about.

We should be as vocal about our praise for clubs as we are scathing when we're not happy IMO.

Glad you all had a fantastic time John. Hope the lad is as well as can be expected given the circumstances.

We haven't been yet mate,I was just talking about the clubs contact with us,atitude and approach.

Sorry it was a bit vague.

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17 hours ago, Tony Le Mesmer said:

I personally think any Premiership that hasn't got above adequate disabled facilities and support staff for disabled fans on matchdays should be fined heavily. Disgrace is used too often these days but this is. The money they are getting. It's unacceptable.

Down the leagues it is more understandable that facilities won't be that stellar but they should still have them and to a satisfactory standard. Obviously clubs such as Barnet or Morecambe won't be able to afford support staff but if people who accompanied the disabled person was free then fair enough.

I also think not enough consideration is given to people with mental health difficulties. It is surprising how many football fans up and down the land struggle with matchdays due to anxiety, ocd, and other disorders. They are expected to manage and fit in with the rest of the crowd.

Many can do this but for some it creates distress and inner conflict detracting from their overall enjoyment of the game and for some they cannot even do this and decide to not go.

Also people with autism or aspergers or that who are struggling with symptoms on the spectrum can also struggle too.

Not attending could be for a number of reasons. My own experiences are that if I cannot get an end seat or at least be guaranteed that many empty seats will be available come kick off then I won't go. This has pretty much meant I have not been able to access away matches with Derby yet. If the away end is full and I can't be guaranteed an end seat near the front preferably then i can forget about going. Due to the Rams superb away support this has proved difficult.

Maybe clubs could set aside seats for away games for people or allow fans to choose or request their preferred seats?

I'm not sure exactly how football can be made more accessible to this particular set of fans but more flexibility, help and understanding would go a long way in making fans of any disability more included, valued and part of the club. Most importantly though it would make clubs accessible for more people.

From my perspective again, I've found it a really tough first 6 months supporting Derby. The crowds and noise for someone with sensitivity and dislike even of these very things have been difficult to adjust to. The recent Forest game I felt quite overwhelmed and struggled to let go of the anxiety in favour of excitement that the Red dogs were getting a pasting.

Somebody on another thread recommended getting into the stadium early to avoid the crowds around the ground which is a fair point but I'd just get anxious sat in my seat hanging around for kick off too so it's finding the best solution. Now I just shut myself off, plough through the people, up to my seat and sit down and breathe. Before I know it it's kick off.

Car parking is an issue too. As I like rigidy, routine and certainty - parking at Derby is tough sometimes due to the sheer number of fans. The official car parks have disabled spots but these are for fans with blue badges who struggle with mobility. Certainly no issue with that but then there are fans like myself who would benefit greatly from a parking space here too.

My anxiety is severe at times and once again mental health sufferers get put on the back burner just because they are struggling with something that cannot be seen. I would argue that I would benefit from a guaranteed parking spot as much as someone who is of limited mobility. I can prove I have these difficulties and I think consideration should be given to all fans with restrictive conditions and not just to fans who visually appear to be disabled.

On the rare occasions I have purchased a car space at the ground when they have been available (rarely) then immediately lots of the anxiety disappears because there is no uncertainty. I know I have a spot, no worrying where I'm parking or having to arrive about 2 hours before kick off. I know where the car park is and i feel more comfortable and part of the distress on match day is reduced because of this.

Anyway, i think more needs to be done. A lot more. Across the board.

I tried to quote bits of this but it's early and I think my brain is in bed still.

I hope Anxiety will become more recognised,and certainly Autism.

My lad is classed as disabled but is usually mobile and can go to the gym etc,(just keep an eye on him)depending on whats going on.If his anxiety is bad he can't do any thing,and it is horrible to witness.

 

 

In terms of football I think the positive effects of supporting a team are so great that access should be improved.

The impression I get from speaking to Derby is that they would be open to helping anyone whatever the issue was.

Mels plans for the live streaming would be great for him,he'll love that

 

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19 hours ago, whiteroseram said:

Wondered what people think to this and to Watford's statement at the bottom?  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38630964

I'll admit to bias here, my dad is disabled, not in a wheelchair but can only join me at the football if he's in more accessible seating and Derby have always been brilliant in my experience. My dad will rarely come to the football because he's not steady on his feet and in the crowd outside pre-game someone WILL accidentally nudge him and he'll fall over, so stewards have been known to walk him to his seat with me so no one could bump into him.

Personally I think there is demand for live football from disabled people but a large amount feel they wouldn't be able to go for various reasons and clubs need to be showing they're making the effort and show that they want anyone to be able to come to games. 

Thoughts?

Great thread,fantastic you take your dad.

Do Derby do a match event geared towards taking elderly Rams fans?

Perhaps thats something they could look at doing.

 

 

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Championship and Premiership clubs should just fix this pronto. The DDA has been in place for years now, none of these grounds were built by the Tudors so there should be no obstacles.

Building ramps and adjusting seating could easily be done in an international break let alone the summer. We are talking concrete here.

These clubs think nothing of paying off failing managers, so they should throw money at helping supporters who make the greatest effort to (pay) to watch them.

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