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Come on you Blues?
I like my football as much as the next person. Well to be honest, probably rather more than the next person. I follow my team’s progress in the league and as often as possible I get to a match. I find the collective excitement, shared enthusiasm (or shared despair!) makes the experience great. It’s not the same viewing your team from the sofa, despite the proximity of warm drinks, a clean loo and cushions.
Not so equal access
Since the implementation of the Equality Act in 2010 and legislation dating back to 1995, it has been illegal for service providers, including football clubs, to treat disabled people less favourably than other customers. So I was disappointed to read that only three clubs in the English Premiership have the required number of wheelchair spaces. Moreover, 8 of the 20 clubs have less than half of the spaces they should. If you support a premier league team and use a wheelchair, not only will you have difficulty accessing home games but there is a very high chance there will not be enough tickets to support your team away from home either.
Live matches everyone can enjoy
Level Playing Field is a charity that promotes and encourages access to sports for disabled people. In March, their weeks of action campaign saw many clubs promote the work of this charity and raise funds or highlight access issues. Danny Wallace, former England footballer, spoke about what this meant to him as a sufferer of multiple sclerosis;
“Disabled supporters should have equal rights to everything at a match and in choosing to support their team alongside their own fans”
See it from their viewpoint
Next time you get along to a match, check out the access for disabled people at your club. Mainly the people who use wheelchairs are seated along the sidelines, but for some this does not afford the ringside view it may suggest. And where spaces higher up in the stands are made available, the fact that wheelchair users cannot see over the heads of the people in front is often not considered.
It’s important that everyone can enjoy sport, so it’s important that we sports fans stay alert to the needs of fellow supporters and campaign actively to make things truly equal.
Ginny Tyler – QCS
" href="http://www.ukqcs.co.uk/cqc/learning-disability/" target="_new" data-tooltip="Learning disabilities have an impact on a service user’s everyday life, which in turns places specific demands on providers of care who specialise in services that offer support to those with learning disabilities. Everything from arranging a visit to a shop, to going on a bus, to meeting someone new, can for some be a profoundly difficult undertaking, so appropriately qualified care providers are on hand to offer their expertise and guidance to make the lives of their service users that much more simpler and enjoyable.<br /><br />Learning disabilities are a broad spectrum and include Down’s Syndrome, Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome and many more. It is distinct from learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, which do not impact upon intellect. With the right care and management people with learning disabilities can still lead normal lives. Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) present even greater challenges to the care service, but there are many services throughout the UK equipped to deal with even the most significant of learning disabilities.">Learning Disability Expert Contributor