Sheffield United is pleased to support the 2017 Level playing Field (LPF) Weeks of Action at Saturday's Charlton game. This annual initiative now in it's 12th year, aims to celebrate access and inclusion for disabled sports fans across England and Wales.
Disabled people constitute the largest minority group at around 15% of the population and this number is increasingly year on year. Naturally a large number of disabled people are football fans as well and we are pleased to take this opportunity to thank our own disabled fans for their continued support and dedication to this Club.
This year we are celebrating the 'Game Changers' that make a big difference to the matchday experience of our disabled fans. We want to shine a light on those who lead and pioneer change that improves access and inclusion and in many cases changing the lives of disabled people.
We would like to name Yvonne McKenzie as one of Sheffield United's Game Changers. She works as a steward on match days and has covered the disabled section or thee last three season and is praise is often received from visiting disabled fans for the support she gives on match days. Speaking about her stewarding she says: "I have a specific area of ground to steward on most of the Sheffield matches through the season, where I look after people with a disability and the vulnerable person seating area, situated on the lower tier of the Bramall Lane Stand. I enjoy meeting, greeting and looking after the needs of these fans, hoping that I have helped to improve their enjoyment when coming to see a match, to watch their team play, even if it's only getting a hot drink for them at half time, or finding where their bus is parked, it all helps to make their day better. It makes the job enjoyable when you see many of the same faces returning, either on the next home game, or the following season."
The role that stewards play was recently picked up by Nicky Baker from Level Playing Field following her match visit to the Lane. She said, "Level Playing Field undertook an access audit, as part of Sheffield United's commitment to improving access for disabled spectators. The Club is providing Disability Liaison Stewards, who provide assistance and help to disabled spectators, as and when, it is required. This has been recently implemented and has proved extremely beneficial to both the spectators and the Club. The Disability Liaison Stewards assist with resolving any issues that arise on a match-by-match basis and also pass any feedback from the spectators to the Club. They are clearly identifiable and are continuously moving around to ensure coverage of the stadium and ensuring that disabled spectators requirements are being met."
Sheffield United works alongside it's disabled fans as part of the ongoing commitment to the EFL Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Code of Practice standard the Club achieved in 2016. In recent years Sheffield United has done a number of things to improve the experience of the disabled on a match day. This includes inclusion training for Club staff and stewards, a disabled supporters kiosk on the Family Stand concourse, a disabled supporters lounge (The Chris Morgan Lounge), lower counters in receptions and the ticket office, match day Supporter Liaison Officers one of whom links to the disabled and a commentary facility for those with sight impairment. The Sheffield United Disabled Supporters (SUDS) are represented on the Sheffield United Inclusion Advisory Group which was formed in 2016 and this group is now involved in the shaping of match day activities for our designated games.