On July 9th 2019, Rotherham United Disabled Supporters Association (RUDSA) held their first AGM meeting at the AESSEAL New York Stadium and Level Playing Field was in attendance to witness first-hand how a club dwarfed by its two Sheffield rivals can stand toe to toe with the most prominent clubs when it comes to one thing, its work within the community.
Rotherham is a town that has seen better times as of late. With the industry that built the town becoming obsolete and national headlines that no town wants to be associated with, the people of Rotherham have rallied around the one constant that has brought the community together since its founding in 1925. Rotherham United.
It’s that word ‘community’, that Rotherham United prides itself on.
“In the wider community, Rotherham United plays a very important part. Rotherham has seen its fair share of difficulties over the past 30 or 40 years, so the club has become more important part of the community, we think in terms of providing esteem to people, a sense of civic pride, a sense of togetherness. We’re very conscious of that as a football club and strive to make sure that we are as inclusive as we can be in involving everybody in Rotherham in that sense of community” – Paul Douglas COO at Rotherham United.
In Rotherham 56,588 people are registered disabled or suffering from a limiting long-term illness according to the Rotherham Census.
That’s why in 2017 Rotherham United welcomed the formation of the Rotherham United Disabled Supporters Association (RUDSA) to be an active voice for Rotherham match day disabled community.
Since their birth in 2017, the RUDSA have worked hand in hand with the club to bring about improvements, advise and support to the club to help bring about a better match day service and experience for the disabled community of Rotherham who might fancy a day out to the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
AGM’s can be dull affairs, but RUDSA holding their first AGM was a celebration. A celebration of a club DSA and community working together to bring about a football experience that the whole of the Rotherham community can enjoy together.
In the spirit of the AGM, Level Playing Field spoke about the need for the disability footballing community to speak up and reach out. Liam spoke about his want for Rotherham United and fellow disabled supporters in England and Wales to speak to Level Playing Field and inform them of the positive and issues that they are witnessing at grounds up and down the country, because together we can create change.
To help Level Playing Field to do this, we are inviting all sports fans to fill out the ‘My Match Day Survey’ (Link). By filling in the survey you will be helping your fellow supporters and clubs to improve the matchday experience for all.