In the final part of the Newall Trilogy we hear more about what Jo and Jeff do for our supporters. Many fans have no direct dealings with disability issues but we know those whose matchday experience is improved by Jo and Jeffs hard work do ….to the final part then.
Other bits & bobs
We are hoping soon to see signs at all the stadium gates, showing where the accessible route into the stadium is (one that avoids people needing to negotiate the zig zag route created by the metal barriers).
For the few that were there and can remember, at the Disabled Fans Forum in March, the Club gave an undertaking to smooth out the ridge which was making it difficult for manual wheelchair users to enter Gate 5. Whilst it has not yet happened, we have not let it be forgotten and hopefully it will soon be sorted. We will keep you posted!
One of the many things that Jo always holds football clubs to account for the length and breadth of the country is dirty accessible toilets (we have to accept Jo has some strange interests!) Recently she has brought it to the attention of our Club, that Stadium MK’ accessible toilets are not as clean as she would expect. This has, she thinks, resulted in a noticeable improvement but if you know different, she would love to hear from you as it is difficult (even for Jo) to constantly check on all the accessible loos! She is particularly grateful to Andy Standen who quickly arranged for a new soap dispenser to be moved that was blocking a grab rail.
Since the Oxford game, we have also been in regular contact with the Club and Level Playing Field over how best to increase awareness that pyros have no place at football particularly given how they can impact on the health and wellbeing of disabled fans.
What about your engagement with the Clubs we visit for away games
If we know of problems at the ground, we will always ask for the Stand Manager to discuss how these issues can be resolved. This is something we can all do. We also endeavour to feedback via our Level Playing Field reviews to every Club we visit, our experiences at their grounds, the positives and the negatives.
You can read our reviews written over the past decade plus at https://www.levelplayingfield.org.uk/sport/football/
We are also endeavouring to share our knowledge about each away ground before we visit on the MKDSA website which we hope will help disabled fans and their family & friends make a more informed choice about whether to go to that game. Some grounds we know our brilliant and some not so!
And what are you looking to turn your attention to in the future …..
We have a number of ideas particularly focussing on provisions for those with hidden disabilities but rather than raise people’s expectations and then have to disappoint, we would like a bit more time and then share more definite news.
This of course does not stop anyone contacting us with their ideas about how provisions for disabled Dons fans can be improved, no matter how big or small, sometimes it is a very small change that can be relatively easily and quickly made that can have a really big impact. We are really keen to move beyond disabled fans just being viewed as wheelchair users or even those on Row EE.
Disabled people are the biggest minority in the country, 20% of the population (1 in 5 people) and we believe that a significant proportion of these people would not self-identify as disabled, so we expect to always be busy in our role but to be most effective we need to hear about the things you want us to turn our attention to, albeit we can sadly never guarantee we will get things sorted to your satisfaction but we will do what we can, when we can.
How to contact Jo & Jeff:
On Row EE seats 390 by aisle 13 and at away games/around the mini bus that is part of the official away travel.
Another great way of communicating your views on disability related issues either at Stadium MK or any other stadium is to write a review for Level Playing Field’s website https://www.levelplayingfield.org.uk/clubs-venues/
You don’t have to be a member of Level Playing Field to do this (Level Playing Field is the charity that represents the interests of disabled sports fans) and every review is sent to the Club concerned as well as being published on LPF’s website. Reviews can if you wish be anonymous. Jo & Jeff’s always appear as J&J but we suspect that most Clubs know who they are, having had previous encounters with them!
Keep on J&J as we are sure you will in your own inimitable fashion! Lovely to hear from you as always … we think!