Safety Officer Dave Parker explains the importance of supporting Level Playing Field's Week of Action.
On Saturday I am delighted to announce that the Adult and Youth Rovers Ability Football Teams will be part of the parade around the pitch being organised by our Community Trust.
Last year the adult team had a kick around at half time which went down ever so well with the fans and some will remember that they did the same earlier on this season which again was enjoyed by all.
At Rovers we believe that sport is for all no matter your ability and we have tried our best over the last year to promote good access for all fans. A few of the initiatives that we have run include:-
• Supporting the establishment of our very own Disability Supporters Association and we are hosting the next regional meeting at the Mem. We have hosted all of the Bristol Rovers DSA meetings since its inauguration.
• Supported the launch of the DSA’s badges which means that those with hidden disabilities do not need to keep declaring that they have a disability.
• Added some hand rails in the toilets in the clubhouse.
• Created four additional wheelchair sites.
• Constructed shelter for those in wheelchairs to protect them from the elements.
• Purchased blankets that we lend out to disabled supporters.
• Purchased some DAB radios for supporters to listen to the live commentary.
• Purchased ponchos that are designed to cover fans watching from wheelchairs.
• Dedicated stewards to assist disabled fans.
• Provided a wheelchair to make it easier for ambulant disabled fans to get around the stadium.
• Created a drop kerb by the club shop that makes it easier for ambulant disabled fans and wheelchair users to gain access.
• Tarmac put down behind the West Stand to fill in some of the pot holes.
• Disabled fans can now purchase tickets wherever they wish to rather than having to sit in the South Stand.
In the pipeline hopefully for next season: -
• Revamp of the clubhouse which will include better facilities for our disabled fans.
• Refurbishment of the Guinness Suite and club shop and create a reception area which will be accessible to all wheelchair users.
• Review the access routes to the rear of the clubhouse and the area outside of the clubhouse and deal with the potholes and uneven surface.
• Any new developments will be undertaken with a view to improving the experience for all fans.
We fully understand that we are limited in what we can do to improve the lot of our disabled fans at the Mem but despite this we will do our very best and work closely with our DSA to make positive changes wherever possible.
Dave Parker (Disability Liaison and Safety Officer)