Blackburn Rovers is once again pleased to support the 2014 Level Playing Field (LPF) Weeks of Action and today is our dedicated match in support of the annual campaign.
It provides us with an opportunity to showcase what we have achieved for our disabled supporters, both home and visiting, and the wider community.
LPF is a campaigning and advisory organisation, working on behalf of all disabled supporters. Rovers have been a member of the organisation for over 15 years and together we strive to raise awareness and improve access for fans requiring additional support.
LPF uses the unique voice of sport to improve access and inclusion for disabled people by working alongside sports bodies and the government. Rovers enhance opportunities and experiences for supporters by working with the Local Authority, the Ewood community, disability organisations, schools and other groups who seek to improve people’s lives through football.
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The new accessible coach used for away travel
Access and inclusion for all has always been the long-term aim of the club and each year we audit all of our facilities and services to identify where we can improve.
The club has a great reputation for commitment and positive attitude in providing services and facilities for disabled people. We are proud as a club of what we have achieved so far.
A major success has been integrating our Away Travel by providing an accessible executive service to away matches, which has proved hugely popular with our travelling fans.
Gary Bowyer visits the new sensory room at Ewood Park
One of the most recent additions has been the AllTogether Sensory Room in the Strikers Family Lounge. This brand new area provides families with a child with disabilities and their siblings with a safe and enjoyable environment before the match. Season ticket holder Michael Rawnsley, who brought his son Samuel, hailed the room as a ‘wonderful achievement’ and congratulated Rovers for our ‘forward-thinking approach’.
Rovers manager Gary Bowyer also visited the room and said: “It is a wonderful space and a great addition to the Strikers Lounge. It is very important that everyone is able to attend games at Ewood Park and this certainly helps all our fans feel welcome.”
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There have also been several exciting projects happening away from the matchday facilities.
Rovers are constantly working with the local community and authorities to support initiatives that benefit our community and more new ventures are planned over the coming months.
Last year, the club announced the formation of a new discussion group ‘Part of the Crowd’. The group meets every three months to discuss issues relating to disabled people. Members represent various groups, each with differing support needs. An additional success has been the development of the younger members whose confidence has grown greatly since its formation.
The sliding doors group
We have also supported ‘Sliding Doors’, a social group for adults who may be isolated. There is music, singing, a raffle and bingo every Thursday evening in Blues Bar from 6.30pm – 8.30pm. The group, led by Julie Astley, recently celebrated its first birthday and is gaining numbers every week.
There is a tea dance at Ewood Park every Thursday afternoon, running from 1pm-2.30pm. Music, line-dancing (including wheelchairs), bingo and raffles are the order of the day and newcomers are always welcome.
An ongoing success is our link with the AllTogether Social Trust. This is a charity for children and young adults with disabilities, their families and carers. There are two groups, aged 5-14 and 14-25, led by Lizzy Toms and her team of volunteers, which meet alternate Fridays in the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre and provide activities including arts and crafts and sports sessions. The club and the AllTogther Social Trust teamed up to provide the new Sensory Room facility in Strikers Lounge.
Mill Hill Diversity FC visit Brockhall
Rovers continue to provide ongoing support to Blackburn College’s GetSet Programme, helping young people with additional support needs gain experience in the workplace, and to the Mill Hill Diversity football team, who recently visited Rovers’ Senior Training Centre.
All these groups will come together on Monday April 14th for the Blackburn Rovers Disabled Supporters Player of the Year Party, organised by the club. Now in its 21st year, it remains the highlight of the social calendar.
If you would like more information on any of these activities or information about access to Ewood Park, contact Christine Peacock on 07717 724646
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For Sliding Doors, contact Julie Astley on 07966 302075.
For the AllTogether Social Trust, contact Lizzy Toms on 01254 265973.