Pompey were delighted to support Level Playing Field’s Weeks of Action at their last home game against Oxford.
And one lucky wheelchair user fan – 13-year-old Maddie Martin –got to present the match ball to the referee after the Blues had warmed up in special LPF Weeks of Action t-shirts.
The idea for Maddie to hand over the ball was the initiative of the club and Pompey in the Community.
The club also work closely with the Pompey Disabled Supporters’ Association, who also backed the Weeks of Action.
Colin Farmery, Pompey’s head of safeguarding and inclusion, said: “The club works hard to try to ensure we are as inclusive and accessible as possible. We worked with the DSA on a number of initiatives to mark the Weeks of Action.
“We published the story of wheelchair user and DSA member Cath Absolom on out website and in the Oxford programme, while Basher Benfield, chair of the DSA, appeared with me on a recent Express FM Football Hour to discuss accessibility issues at football.
“Members of the DSA will be at the training ground for a tour next week and a player will be making an appearance at the forthcoming DSA AGM at Fratton Park on Monday, April 9.”
This season the club has also initiated a complimentary refreshment voucher for away wheelchair users, sponsored by Centerplate, and recently, working in partnership with the club, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust have started distributing a complimentary hot drink at half-time to all wheelchair users and their carers.
Pompey have also employed a matchday disabled liaison officer for the past 18 months, who liaises with supporters with a range of needs, while there is an audio-descriptive commentary service for visually impaired supporters and a supply of ear defenders to help young fans on the autistic spectrum.
Farmery added: “Fratton Park is an old stadium and we have a number of challenges to overcome to ensure our accessible facilities are suitable for a modern football club, but we are determined to succeed and, in terms of our customer service, we have made huge strides in the past couple of years.”
To find out more about accessible facilities at Fratton Park, email email@example.com or contact the ticket office on 0345 646 1898 to speak to ticketing DLO Allison McNeil.
Click here to read about Cath’s away travel experience in a wheelchair with the club’s official travel partner Lucketts.
To find out more about how to get involved with the Pompey Disabled Supporters’ Association, including attending their fortnightly meetings at Fratton Park and the Howard Road Community Centre, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Level Playing Field’s Weeks of Action were established in 2005 to help highlight the positive initiatives undertaken by clubs, sporting venues and their governing bodies in partnership with disabled sports fans and disabled supporters’ associations (DSAs). For more information click here.