Helping make non-league football accessible to all
Posted on 24th December 2019
We have teamed up with leading disability charity Level Playing Field (LPF) to help non-league clubs improve access and facilities for disabled fans. We’re delighted that the idea is being supported by both the National League, which has required all clubs to complete the disability access survey, and the Northern Premier League.
Belper Town are the first club to sign up to our new disability charter. We look forward to welcoming Leek Town FC and Newcastle Town FC early next year.
Nearly 14 million people or 21% of the population in the UK has a disability and 50% of disabled people have never attended a live entertainment or sports event.
The project offers support and guidance, encouraging clubs to engage with disabled fans and the wider community in order to develop and improve the matchday experience for disabled supporters.
Fans for Diversity campaigns officer Maria Ryder said: “Many clubs do make good provision for disabled fans. We’ll champion that. It’s also about raising awareness, talking and sharing good ideas. We can help bring people together to make a positive change”
Improving access is not just about large capital projects like installing ramps and electric wheelchair lifts. LPF highlights the importance of football in the community and argues clubs can have a hugely positive impact on an individual’s well-being when they are truly inclusive and accessible.
Ruth Hopkins from LPF said “There are a number of low cost and no cost ways to make your club accessible to disabled people. Signing up to this charter and working with LPF and the FSA can be a good step in making improvements and enhancing your club’s reputation.”
The idea includes a voluntary Disabled Charter, a self assessment and a bespoke plan of action. It’s exciting that the leagues are working with us to encourage clubs to build this into their plans.
“At our level of the game football must be accessible to all parts of the community,” said Northern Premier League chairman Mark Harris. “So we fully support a programme of better education for clubs that will help them expand their support base and offer a better fan experience.”
Solihull Moors FC have also developed a Disability Policy which the club have agreed can be shared as part of a drive towards helping the national game share best practice around equality and inclusion. A presentation will be made to clubs in the National League next month and we hope more clubs will join the campaign.
If your fan group or club wants to know more about the project contact Fans for Diversity campaigns officer Maria Ryder: firstname.lastname@example.org