Disabled Supporters Association meeting minutes
Minutes of the meeting of the Disabled Supporters Association held on February 3.
Chris Cheshire, Bill Doidge, Peter, Rosemary & Teagan Gill, Carl & Ivor Gillespie, Dennis Hills, Paul & Chris Landragin, Barb Robinson, Gordon Skeggs, Sue & Terry Scoble, Gary Sharp, James Simpson & Carer, Andy Tester, Les & Audrey Turnbull,
Susan & Michael Wheeler.
David Beard, Paul Buckett, Trevor Budgen, John Bushall, Ted & Chris Covey,
Michael Osborne, Charlie Paddington, Keith Owens.
Ticket Office Manager Sophie Harding, Stadium Manager Peter Wimshurst;
Stewards Ann Brake & Terry Marshall, Redz Bar Rhona Kaye.
Barb welcomed our guests and thanked them for coming. She then read out a message she’d received from John Gregory following his receipt of the card and messages we sent him prior to his operation: “Thanks for all your get well wishes. Please stay with the team, they need your support now more than ever. JG xx #COYR”
Location of seats in the stadium for those with mobility problems
Wheelchair access and easy access seating - Sophie confirmed the following:
West Stand wheelchair/carer places in Block F - there are 11 in the elevated section and 6 pitch-side; In Block B there are 6 places pitch-side.
East Stand there are 4 places for home supporters and 4 in the away end all at pitch level.
There is easy access seating in the front row of the East stand for home and away fans and more are planned in block G in the West Stand for home fans - accessible by the lift
Two members who sit in Block F had emailed their concern that, as their seat numbers had been changed because the wheelchair spaces had been now been numbered, their seats might be sold. Sophie said she was aware of this, but confirmed that there is no way this would happen and that next year their season tickets would show the new number.
Gary was concerned that if he doesn’t have a carer with him he cannot get downstairs to buy food and drink at half time. A steward has got refreshments for him in the past but this doesn’t always happen.
Peter replied to say it was against club rules for stewards to leave their area to get food for supporters, but after some discussion it was agreed that if only a small number of people required assistance the steward could help on occasions.
Gary also asked about changing his easy access seat in the West Stand so that people don’t have to squeeze by him. It was suggested that he comes in to see Sophie to look at possible alternatives.
Ground improvement for disabled fans:
The shopping list of access issues that was given to Peter by Chris at the end of last season has mostly been completed and there is now clear signage for the lift, a dropped kerb into Redz and more disabled parking - among other things.
One action outstanding though was the colour contrasting of the toilets for visually impaired people. The ones in the away end of the East Stand are fine but all the others have white tiles and no colour contrasts.
Peter is ordering coloured CTFC stickers and will fix them over the white tiles as soon as they arrive.
Dennis raised the issue of the flaps at the back of the east stand which are not fixed down, creating a draught which makes it very cold on winter days.
Peter responded that he would look into it.
Concern was expressed that one of the disabled toilets near the executive suite toilet door is often blocked at half time with the caterers’ trolleys. This causes a queue when more than one person needs a disabled loo!
Peter to investigate and make sure that the area is cleared by half time to avoid any obstruction.
Disabled Car parking:
Peter said he plans to create 2 disabled bays for the East Stand users, by the side of the all weather kick-about pitch.
As there is often pressure on disabled bays, Chris suggested a simple system to inform the club if an allocated disabled parking space was not going to be used on a match day. The stewards can then be informed of any available free spaces for blue badge holders.
Sophie will send out a letter to users with detailed information on how to inform the club.
Peter requested an arrival cut-off time of 2.30 pm and if a space had not been taken it will be re-allocated. This was agreed.
General concern was raised about pedestrian safety when exiting the ground and crossing the road to the underpass leading to Southgate. Peter confirmed that stewards are not allowed to direct traffic outside the ground. The Police can be asked to assist, but due to the small number that are on duty it is unlikely there would be any immediate assistance.
It was asked if the feasibility of wheelchair access to the executive seating could be looked into in the future.
The exit out of the ground leading to Vulcan Close in Broadfield and to the free car park will be made a lot safer by the Council. They are going to remove the step to create a level surface and put up some protection so that no one can slip into the brook.
Barb has collated information that is already on the website into a general guide to the stadium aimed at both home and away supporters, including those who are disabled. It covers directions by road, train, bus as well as ticketing information and facilities within the ground. This will be emailed to away clubs prior to games to assist visiting supporters with parking, food and drink etc. Everyone thought this was a good idea, especially as it is an inclusive guide. A suggested title was: ‘A Matchday Guide for Home and Visiting Fans.’
We will suggest to Bruce Talbot that it could replace what is currently on the website.
Level Playing Field (LPF):
Barb read out the draft response to a questionnaire that we were sent by LPF. Following this meeting it will be finalised and sent back to them.
Any Other Business:
Terry, the steward who looks after the disabled people seated at pitch level, said that it’s difficult for him to find individuals to give them their team sheet and asked that they find him – he’s normally situated in the SW corner between the Bruce Winfield terrace and the East Stand.
Treasurer advised there is £35.00 in our account.
Project for the provision of an audio commentary for fans who are visually impaired to be investigated; cost is estimated to be £3-5k. Barb will investigate further and this will be discussed at the next Steering Group meeting which will take place in the near future – date TBC.
Barb and Chris reported that the information video planned for disabled fans is underway and there will be a big press launch when finished.
It is hoped that another visit to the club’s training ground will be arranged before the end of the season.
Thanks were given to Rhona for her hospitality and to Peter, Sophie, Ann and Terry for coming and for their contributions.
The meeting closed at 8pm.
At a request from some people, the next meeting will start at 7.00 pm. This was agreed and the date is to be confirmed.