Disabled Supporters Association
Trevor Budgen, Chris Cheshire, Barb Robinson, Ted & Chris Covey, Alan Cox, Bill Doidge, Peter &Teagan Gill, Carl & Ivor Gillespie, Kevin Harrison, Dennis Hills, Gordon Skeggs, Charlie Paddington, Sue & Terry Scoble, Andy Tester, Susan & Michael Wheeler, Keith Stevens, Audrey Turnbull.
Paul Buckett, John Bushell, David Beard, Amy Fazackerly
Introductions & Shirt Sponsorship:
Barb brought the first DSA meeting of the 2016/17 season to hand at 7.30pm, made the introductions and gave apologies. Amy from Community had been invited as much of the work she does involves disabled people.
Terry Scoble, our treasurer, collected this season’s £5.00 membership subs.
The meeting commenced with Barb giving the results of the DSA shirt sponsorship for this coming season. The votes were as follows:
Lewis Young was third with 7 votes, Jimmy Smith second with 8 but the overall winner with 10 votes was Jason Roberts.
It was agreed that we sponsor Jason’s away shirt for the forthcoming season.
Graham Wright, the new commercial manager, said there were some home shirts still available if we wanted to sponsor a second shirt.
Barb asked our Treasurer, Terry if we had sufficient funds to sponsor another shirt, he said yes and it was agreed by a show of hands at the meeting that the DSA will also sponsor Bobson Bawling’s home shirt.
Level Playing Field Regional Forum:
Barb confirmed that CTFC will host the next Level Playing Field South Coast Regional Forum in the Mayo Wynne Baxter suite on Thursday 15th September from 1pm - 4pm.
Representatives from LPF and the other clubs in this region - Portsmouth, Brighton, Bournemouth & Reading have been invited and an agenda will be sent out early next month. Anyone wanting to come from the Club, Community or our DSA please let Barb know asap.
We are looking to try and provide an accessible away vehicle this season for those who cannot use a normal coach. Games that have been identified are Stevenage, Leyton Orient, Wycombe and Barnet.
The cost of hiring a Community Transport bus would be £150.00. If we had 10 supporters the cost would then be £15.00 each, the same as CTSA are charging. We’d try to negotiate a ticket deal for the game with the host club. The bus would be able to drop us off and pick up close to the away gate and park at the stadium or nearby.
The chances are that Stevenage is too soon to organize therefore it would be just the other three games.
Please let Barb know if you are interested.
Wheelchair/Carer spaces and availability in the elevated section of the West Stand:
Barb introduced this explaining that during every closed season the Club is asked to fill in a questionnaire about wheelchair provision for both home and away supporters. These requests come from the Football League (now known as EFL), who update their Guide to Disabled Facilities each year and from Level Playing Field who likewise update their website.
The meeting was then handed over to Chris Cheshire who reported that the LPF update had been supplied by Barb – see extract from their website below - and the league questionnaire had been completed by Kelly Derham.
Copied from CTFC page on LPF’s website:
Spectator Viewing areas
Home supporters have 21 spaces for wheelchair users available to them. 10 of these can be found at pitch side in both East and West stands, 2 are behind the goal and 9 are in the raised section at the North end of the West Stand, accessible by lift.
Away supporters have 6 spaces for wheelchair users. 4 of these spaces are located at the front of the East stand in the away section and 2 spaces behind the goal at the away end.
Easy Access seats are located on the front row of the East Stand (home & away supporters) and elevated section at north end of West Stand, accessible by lift. There are 240 easy access seats in the stadium.
NB: Under existing minimum standards for accessible stadia, the club should have 59 wheelchair spaces (53 home and up to 6 away). 75% of these should be elevated positions and the remaining 25% pitch side.
LPF's view is that many disabled supporters should be able to access general seating areas and only those with specific needs e.g. those who require extra legroom, or access via aisle seats or who need step free access should be allocated seats in the dedicated areas.
Based on the above, the club therefore only meets 47% of the guidance and has a shortfall of 32 wheelchair spaces. They should be working on a plan to rectify this deficit within a reasonable timeframe under the auspices of a full independent Access Audit.
Clearly the Club should look at ways to work towards meeting the standards and to this end, Kelly asked us to confirm current provision of elevated wheelchair positions and any ideas we may have for improvement.
Chris handed out a seating plan drawn from memory of the current provision, asking for feedback and any ideas for improvement.
Corrections were fed back to Chris, who will double-check with Barb before sending an amended plan to members for approval, before it goes to Kelly.
Lengthy discussion highlighted the difficulty in accommodating all needs and in increasing the number of elevated wheelchair provisions, given the constraints of the West Stand.
Kelly has reassured us that nothing will change this season. The new management at the club is looking towards reviewing all aspects of the facilities it offers fans, including wheelchair & easy access positions. It’s important that we as a DSA work together with the them to assist in this and Kelly will be invited to meet with us to discuss options before any changes are made.
Trevor Budgen wanted to know the evacuation procedure in the event of an emergency as lifts cannot be used.
Chris reported this was addressed when the stadium was built using Evac Chairs (now discarded in most venues) and it may be a good idea to remind people of the procedures that are in place. She reminded people that the carer would be responsible in assisting the wheelchair user.
Training Session Visit:
The last training ground visit was cancelled when the manager changed, and the new facilities are still being developed but we still plan to arrange one for this season, hopefully before Christmas. Barb has spoken to Dermot and Matt and they are keen for us to come and meet the players and watch them train – probably at the stadium. Watch this space for further details.
Barb will try to link it with a behind the scene tour for the DSA group if the stadium sessions are open to all.
Any Other Business:
A discussion took place concerning a proposal of another New Year’s Dinner. A suggestion was put forward to have an up-market buffet to make it more affordable. This will be discussed at a future steering group meeting - to be arranged in the coming weeks.
Next full DSA meeting will be arranged before Christmas and details will be emailed out once dates are known.
The meeting closed at 8.30 p.m.
A big thank you to Rhona for giving up her time.