Everton Football Club will be celebrating disability sport along with the Club’s commitment to disabled supporters at Sunday’s match against Manchester United to coincide with International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The day, which is about helping break down disability barriers and celebrating the abilities of all, will see a range of activity taking place to showcase the work that Everton and Everton in the Community do throughout the year to celebrate the abilities and support of fans and people in the local community.
Ahead of the game fans can make their way to the Everton Matchday Hub, located on Spellow lane, where Everton in the Community will be putting on coaching sessions to raise awareness of disability sports such as, boccia, sitting volleyball and blind football. Supporters of all abilities can sign up and get involved in some of the taster sessions on offer here There will also be a stall situated in the Hub with members from Everton’s Disabled Supporters Association present to answer any fan queries about the disabled facilities and services available at Goodison.
Evertonian and bronze medal winning Paralympian Jamie Burdekin will be making an appearance on the Fan Zone along with Everton in the Community Disability Manager Steve Johnson, also a former Paralympian himself as well as a member of the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame for his work in field of disabled football.
Ahead of kick-off we will also be welcoming a number of disabled fans onto the pitch, with Blues being joined by eight Manchester United supporters, who will form a guard of honour as both teams make their way out of the tunnel.
The Club has recently made a number of changes within Goodison Park to try and improve the matchday experience for all disabled Evertonians and visiting fans.
All disabled toilets within the stadium have now been refurbished and new changing facilities have been installed with accessible toilets fitted with radar keys to stop misuse.
Accessible low kiosk counters and large-print hand-held menus have also been introduced and following a successful trial in the Park End last season, the Club also offer a waitress service throughout the stadium for disabled supporters within the wheelchair seating areas. The service sees supporters able to place an order for food on arrival with EDSA Stewards and Sodexo staff will then deliver at half-time.
A lot of this work has been led by Michelle Kirk, the Blues’ first Disability Access Officer – the first position of its kind across the whole Premier League – and her role sees her provide assistance to disabled supporters to ensure they have a trouble-free, enjoyable experience, both at Goodison Park and at away grounds around the country.
The Matchday Hub will be open from 1pm on Sunday afternoon and the Fan Zone, located in Park End Car Park is open to supporters from 2pm.