South West Disabled Fans’ Experience Forum - 2015 report
The fifth forum was held at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff City Football Club on Thursday 15th October, 2015.
This forum was hosted by Cardiff City Football Club; Cardiff City Disabled Supporters Association and supported by Nick Saunders & David Munn (co-founders of the SWDFEF).
Brief history: The idea for the SWDFEF came from Nick Saunders (Exeter City DSA) back in 2011 and with David Munn (Yeovil Town DSA) working together, this highly successful regional forum was setup.
Objectives of the Forum: To provide a medium whereby everyone can exchange views, policies and practices concerning their own club’s and associations. What could be gained: It is hoped that these Forums will assist all attending in their efforts to improve their own club’s disabled facilities and standard of customer service given to disabled supporters. Primary results: Firstly – Would improve the current disabled supporter’s experience. Secondly – Could encourage more disabled people to attend matches.
Invitations are sent to disabled supporter associations, disability liaison officers, stadium managers, health & safety officers, disability ‘football in the community’ officers and anyone who deals with disability at their club in the South West region.
23 delegates attended this year’s forum from 6 Football League clubs; 1 Premier League club; 6 Disabled Supporter Associations and Level Playing Field.
Delegates that attended this year’s forum came from Bristol City; Cardiff City; Exeter City; Newport County; Plymouth Argyle; Swansea City and Yeovil Town. Apologies came from Bristol Rovers; Cheltenham Town; Swindon Town; Torquay United and the Football League.
The forum was opened and all delegates were welcomed and an agenda overview read by Adam Gilliatt (Cardiff City Supporters Liaison Officer) and then the forum was briefly handed over to Nick Saunders for the apologies, as stated above.
Paul Corkrey (Cardiff City DSA acting Chairman) started by informing everyone that Tim Hill has stood down as chairman of the DSA due to ill health and thanked Tim for all his hard work over the years for the DSA. Paul then gave a presentation on the history of the DSA and what they do for Cardiff City F.C and their supporters with disabilities. This included news on their warm room, this room is used by those with disabilities on match days to warm up with tea and coffee provided, which is donated to them by the clubs caterers and any money made from this is put into the DSA.
Kieran Reynolds (Level Playing Field Working Together Officer) give a presentation on the work he’s been doing in the past 11 months since being employed by Level Playing Field and taking on the Working Together project which has been going for the past 3 years. 9 DSA’s have been setup under the project so far and the news that the project has been given funding for a further 2 years and the hope of setting up another 6 DSA’s plus the setup of regional forums based on our successful South West forum and this is down to the work put in by Nick Saunders and David Munn and the support from the football clubs and DSA’s in this region. Kieran reported that they’ve just held their first regional forum namely the South Coast Disabled Fans’ Experience Forum with Portsmouth F.C hosting the first forum. Kieran thanked Nick Saunders for his help and advice and for attending the forum. It is hoped that the next LPF regional forum will be setup in the North West. Kieran then took questions from delegates with some good questions asked and answers given.
After a short break Phil Halligey (Cardiff City Disability Liaison Officer and Health & Safety Officer) and Adam Gilliatt (Cardiff City SLO) gave presentations on the work they do at Cardiff City F.C. Phil started the presentations by giving a history on the football club from their days at Ninian Park to their new home at the Cardiff City Stadium. Phil then handed over to Adam who give a presentation on the work he does at Cardiff City and the facilities they have on offer to those with disabilities and plans for the future. Phil and Adam then took some questions from delegates with answers given.
Josh Law (Cardiff City Community Foundation) and Josh gave a detailed presentation on the work he and his team does for those with disabilities and the many opportunities to play football; other sport activates and keeping active. Josh then took a question from a delegate and a detailed answer was given.
The forum then went on to General Discussion and then a provisional date of Thursday 13th Oct 2016 was given for the next forum to be held where delegates were asked to host the forum. Venue to be announced.
The Forum was formally closed by David Munn. David and Nick thanked everyone for their attendance, thanked those who made presentations and then thanked everyone involved at Cardiff City F.C for hosting a very informative forum and for the use of their facilities and fantastic hospitality.
Before everyone left there was an opportunity of a short Stadium tour given by Adam and Phil.
The forum was another great success and the feedback from attendees again is very positive.
Nick Saunders (ECFC DSA Chairman; ECFC DLO; SWDFEF co-founder/co-chairman) & David Munn (YTFC DSA Media Rep; Soccer Sight Commentator; SWDFEF co-founder/co-chairman).