Brentford

Brentford

Assessment of Accessible Facilities

Stadium

Griffin Park

Address

Griffin Park
Braemar Road

Brentford
TW8 0NT

Club / stadium contact for disabled supporters

Name

Alan Walsh

Telephone no.

0208 380 9907

E-mail address

Website address

Disabled Supporters Association

Contact Name

There is no DSA at present.

Telephone no.

E-mail address

Website address

 

 

Accessibility Information

For UK minimum access standards for new and existing stadia and for good practice guidance please click here.

 

Getting There & Parking

 

There is no club car park or drop off facilities available.

 

National Rail have published links to the nearest stations to sporting venues including Brentford see here for more information.

 

Level Playing Field have not verified the information given and we suggest that you contact the station direct if you have any access requirements.

Getting a Ticket

 

Please contact the Ticket Office in advance on 08453 456 442 (option 4) or email: tickets@brentfordfc.co.uk for further details.

Spectator Viewing areas

 

Home supporters have 6 spaces for wheelchair users available to them, and these can be found at pitchside. 6 spaces for away supporters who are wheelchair users are available.

 

NB: Under existing minimum standards for accessible stadia, the club should have 110 wheelchair spaces (93 home and up to 17 away). 75% of these should be elevated positions and the remaining 25% pitchside.

 

LPF's view is that many disabled supporters should be able to access general seating areas and only those with specific needs eg those who require extra legroom, or access via aisle seats or who need step free access etc should be allocated seats in the dedicated areas.

 

Based on the above, the club therefore only meets 11% of the guidance and has a shortfall of 98 wheelchair spaces. They should be working on a plan to rectify this deficit within a reasonable timeframe under the auspices of a full independent Access Audit.

 

 

Accessible amenities

 

Home fans only can use accessible toilets inside the stadium, located directly behind the accessible seating area. The club shop is accessible for all fans but does not have a low level serving counter. Catering kiosks in the home section have low level serving counters and so are fully accessible.

Accessible services & information

 

The ticket office does not have a hearing loop installed. Match commentaries are available via headsets available from stewards, pre book by email or in person. Facilities for assistance dogs are not available. The concourses do not have rest areas included.

 

Updated October 2013.

Club Additional Information

 

For more information on Brentford's scheme for blind and partially sighted fans please visit here.

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Comments

J&J

Match: 29/12/13

Published: 12/1/2014

 

This was our fourth visit as away wheelchair fans to Griffin Park in successive seasons.   As I wrote a lengthy review after my last visit, to avoid repetition, this one is restricted to information not covered in that one. 

 

Ticketing Issues

When I telephoned Brentford Ticket Office as required to purchase my ticket, I was told that I would only be sold a ticket if I undertook to not wear my Club colours at the game as the away wheelchair users are accommodated in the same stand as home fans.   As I refused to accept this condition (it has never been a requirement of my last 3 visits when I have sat in the home stand, which I did explain) I was refused a ticket and told that the Operations Manager would need to telephone me!   I was incensed by this.  For me it amounted to the Club staff believing that their fans were so violent they would attack a female wheelchair user!  I immediately contacted the Disabled Liaison Officer at my home Club who undertook to contact Brentford to discuss the matter.    A short while later, the same staff member from Brentford’s Ticket Office telephoned me to say that I would not need to speak to the Operations Manager, that he could sell me my ticket and it would be ok for me to wear my Club colours as I had done at previous games.   He went on to say that he thought I had misunderstood him and he was simply trying to explain to me that I would be sat with the Home fans.   I know I did not misunderstand what he said to me.

 

If you are purchasing tickets for a December match I would advise to get them early.   Mine was posted to me, it took 8 days.   My friend, another wheelchair user, who I travel with, told me that, not realising that (as is now usual) she could not get her tickets from her home club until Christmas week and had since been repeatedly unable to get any answer from Brentford’s ticket office, she was just hoping that she could purchase hers on the day.   The website said that tickets were available to purchase on the day and said nothing about this not equally applying to wheelchair users.   She subsequently told me that after joining a long queue at the ticket office, she was informed that there were no wheelchair user tickets available and when she explained her difficulties in buying a ticket before the game this remained the response.   As she is someone who attends every home and away game for her Club and has done for years, she was devastated.   At this moment our Club’s retired Assistant Manager spotted her, and once he knew what was happening, he intervened and ensured she was sold a ticket.    In the meantime, fearing she might be having a problem getting a ticket, I had approached the Senior Steward for the wheelchair area and asked her did she know if all the wheelchair tickets had been sold, as if this was so, I wanted my friend to have my ticket and I would miss the match.   The Steward thanked me but assured me that they would always find room and would never turn away an away wheelchair fan who had travelled to the ground.   Obviously the Ticket Office staff had not been told of this commitment!   As it turned out there were fewer wheelchair fans at Brentford than at any of the previous 3 games we had been to there and a number of vacant spaces, which made the Box Office’s staff refusal to sell my friend a ticket even less understandable.    My friend was very grateful to our retired Assistant Manager for ensuring she was sold a ticket, but the reality is that it should not come down to such chance interventions.  

 

The next ticketing problem was that my friend had with her, her mother as her carer and her 11- year nephew who is disabled with ADHD.   The Ticket Office staff informed my friend’s mother that, although she was there as the child’s guardian, the child could not sit with her in the wheelchair area and had to go with a family friend into the adjacent away stand, which meant that she was unable to speak to or have any contact with her grandson until the friend returned him to her after the match, a journey which involved walking round the streets outside the Ground.

 

Thankfully nothing amiss happened and the family friend who was there was very good but the potential for such was clearly present.   I was appalled that a disabled child was separated from their guardian (there were many empty seats in the wheelchair area) and encouraged my friend’s Mum to make a written complaint to Brentford FC.

 

Since the game, I have heard from another fellow supporter who quite regularly attends away games, that he would have liked to have gone to the Brentford game but didn’t as when his Dad contacted Brentford for an away wheelchair user ticket he was told there were none left.   He was really disappointed when I told him there would have been room for him.   This led me to think, as Brentford essentially were only making two away wheelchair user tickets available, less than at any of the other 40 odd grounds I have visited (given the circumstances of the third they did sell on the day I have not counted that), should the usual rules for the allocation of limited away tickets have operated?

  

By this I mean should not these two tickets have been given to the home club for them to sell to those they deemed most deserving of them based on past attendances.   Equally is such small allocation of tickets for away wheelchair users fair if more wanted to attend the game?

 

Access to the Ground

No change.   Except the street we had turned into for the last 3 years to be dropped off at the wheelchair users entrance has now been made one-way so we had to go round the block to come up the street from the opposite end.   Negotiating narrow streets with double parking in a mini-bus was fun but better than the 10 minute walk from where the coaches park.  

 

Facilities in the Ground for Away Wheelchair Fans

Viewing Areas

No change.    All home and away fans sat together in the corner of the family stand nearest the tunnel.   Stewards are relaxed about which of the marked wheelchair bays you occupy so as away fans who were there early we occupied those nearest to the tunnel, in doing so we have not been asked by any Brentford fans to move from their space.  Good 3G signal.     

Refreshments

As it would be difficult to get to, we have always taken our own.   I was informed that a hot drink was £2 (50p more than we had paid 3 days previous at a ground in Sussex).

Accessible Toilets

No improvement.   Small and dark, no room to turn.   Left hand transfer.   Hand soap but as I was in danger of giving myself a shower I gave up on trying to obtain hot water.

Headset Commentaries for Visually Impaired Fans

My husband stated that unlike last year, the people giving out the headsets behind the wheelchair fans were very friendly.   He reported that the commentary was helpful and fair.  Good to be able to hand the headset to the nearest steward as you leave. 

 

Attitude of Club Officials

Apart from when I sought out the Senior Steward to speak to, the only other steward who spoke to me was the one on the gate who took my ticket off me.   Neither of them nor any of the stewards I passed subsequently asked if I knew where I was going, so it was a good job I did!

 

After the Match

In order to avoid the pushing and shoving from the home fans in leaving the ground that we experienced last year, the 5 away fans decided to leave a couple of minutes before the end.   This meant that we had to get past the Brentford wheelchair fans still watching the game and due to the very limited space this can only be done slowly but they were lovely, wishing us a safe journey home.   Our decision to leave early was based in part on our knowledge that our mini-bus has always been parked in the street outside the ground waiting for us at the end of the match.   This time it wasn’t.  This meant we were very vulnerable as the only away fans in a big crowd of home fans with no stewards around.   When I saw 2 police officers I asked them if they knew about our mini-bus, only to be told by one of them that it had never been there at the end and in any case, as away fans, we should not be there but around the other side (oh yes please if you can take the steps away)!!!    As my husband said, this is the lst time in his life he has argued with a police officer!      When all the away fans had dispersed our mini-bus was allowed through, the driver explaining that he had not been allowed through prior to the end of the game as had happened in previous years.   We would be happy to wait but not where, based on previous experiences, we feel unsafe and unprotected.

 

Will We go Again?

It would be so easy to say No but as we go to all our Club’s away matches, not going would feel like a cop out which is just not our style.    We certainly want Brentford to move to a new ground ASAP then hopefully we can sit with the away fans and none of the problems we experience at Griffin Park will exist.    On current form we might avoid a trip to Brentford next year, which could only be good.   If we do have a further trip to Griffin Park I will ensure that arrangements for the end of the game are better organised.  

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Sheffield United Disabled Supporters Club (SUDS)

Match: Brentford v Sheffield United.

Published: 28/8/2013

 

Having been to Brentford 3 times now I find it is still very intimidating to away fans.

 

Sat in the home end with only 5 spaces for wheelchairs and carers sit behind, pitchside and level access. Good unobstructed view.

 

The only toilet is very small and dismal inside. Wheelchair spaces on a cold draughty corner and you get very wet if it rains as it did for us.  

 

The refreshment counter is very good but not accessible to wheelchair users as there is a step up.

 

Coming out after game the home fans are very intimidating as you have a long walk to the coaches about 15 mins when pushing a wheeelchair and it is partly uphill.

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J & J

Match: 08/12/2012

Published: 14/1/2013

 

This was our 3rd visit in successive seasons as away fans.   Away wheelchair fans have to purchase their tickets from Brentford, you are charged postage or you can collect them from the box office close by the entrance when you arrive.   The entrance to the ground for all disabled fans (home and away) is in the middle of a narrow residential street with no parking.    We travelled in a wheelchair accessible mini-bus that is part of our club’s official away transport.   Our mini bus has always been allowed into the street to drop us off and pick us up immediately in front of the entrance/exit, but it is very congested.  

 

Away wheelchair fans are seated with the home disabled fans in the front of the family stand adjacent to the away end of the tunnel (which is in the corner of the ground).   The good thing about this arrangement for away fans is that you can see the away fans and are close to them.  You are also very close to the players as they leave and return to the tunnel.   Nevertheless not being seated in the away end inevitably has its drawbacks.   We are aware that a wheelchair fan from our club a few years ago was assaulted by a home fan during a game and on this occasion a carer/PA with one of our wheelchair fans received verbal abuse from an away fan at the end of the game before leaving the stand.   My husband also informed me that he was jostled and subjected to verbal abuse from home fans as he was leaving the ground.   Such incidents, I think, highlight the importance of the need to accommodate away wheelchair fans in the away end, regardless of how old or new stadiums are.   The problems associated with not doing so, as these experiences show, are not just incidents during the game but also, particularly at the end of the match, the away wheelchair fans and their carers/PAs are very visible as the only away fans in a crowd of home fans.   In these circumstances I believe the carer/PA can be at great risk of abuse, as, unlike the away fans who are using wheelchairs, there may be no obvious reason why they are in the home crowd (it is easy to get separated from a power-chair in a crowd!) making them a very visible target. 

 

In relation to the general layout on going through the large gate direct from the pavement, you pass down a brick outside corridor, passing the refreshment kiosk (1-step – no level access) and take the 2nd turning on the right to the wheelchair spaces which are then on left at pitch level.   The one accessible toilet is on the right in the main passageway beyond the turn.    (I am giving these details as on our first visit we were welcomed by a steward and escorted to where we were sitting but on this visit it was notable that we were just left to find our own way.)    The accessible toilet is not over large and quite dark.   I would advise you to go before you go to your seats as on each of our 3 visits we have been in the spaces furthest away from the entrance and as the space in front of the wheelchairs is very tight, to go to the toilet, about 6 wheelchair users would have needed to have moved for me to get past!    At least with so little space there is no problem with stewards walking in front of you during the game.   We have met some really friendly stewards (and home fans) at Brentford in our 3 visits but on the most recent, stewards were largely inconspicuous.  

 

Brentford is one of the clubs that do provide Soccer Sight headset commentaries for visually impaired fans.   On this visit I rang beforehand to request this as usual and was told that a headset would be available for my husband from a steward.   When my husband asked he was directed to the person who brings them all to a table at the back of the disabled fans area.   This person told him that he would have liked someone to have informed him of the request!  

In respect of facilities near to the ground, from the limited impression I have gained, the only facilities I have seen are the pub on every corner of the ground and a drive-thru burger place a few minutes’ walk away, opposite the Thames (not tried any of these).  

 

 

 

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James

Match: Brentford FC vs Walsall

Published: 22/10/2011

 

I am a disabled supporter and Brentford FC are very supportive and they try their best to help you out with your needs.

Many supporters help you there and are like a familiy to me if you get what i mean. Every match that I go to they always ask how I am what have I been up to and things like that, and if you have any probs they sort it out for you. So why not come down and support Brentford FC? It's one big happy family. :)

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