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NADS launch disabled fans’ initiative in Wigan

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Our friends at the National Association of Disabled Supporters (NADS) have announced an excellent scheme launched in collaboration with the Wigan Learning Disability Partnership Board, Wigan Athletic Football Club, and Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club. The Never Watch Alone Initiative will enable supporters with a learning disability to attend matches alongside their fellow fans.

Through a network of buddies, the unique initiative will enable those supporters with a learning disability to go to games, not with a professional carer, but a friend and like-minded fan who shares their passion. This has the advantage of involving the supporter in all the pre-match rituals, camaraderie, and socialising before a game that it’s all too easy to take for granted.

Buddies don’t need experience as guidance, support, and advice will be handled by those overseeing the Never Watch Alone Initiative. Volunteers need to be aged 18 years or older and have a genuine passion for football (or rugby, if you prefer odd-shaped balls).

If you want to get involved email project co-ordinator Terry Mann, or call 01942776579. There will also be an open night and social evening at the JJB Stadium on Monday, February 2nd, for those wishing to find out more.

The Never Watch Alone Initiative will be launched alongside the NADS disability awareness Level Playing Field campaign on Saturday, March 21st, at Wigan’s Premier League clash with Hull City.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball
  • SD Europe