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Level Playing Field Round Up November 2013

Round Up links you to updates from the LPF office.


The “Working Together” project allows us to work with clubs and disabled supporters to set up sustainable Disabled Supporter Groups (DSAs). There are a number of new groups going through the process and we are pleased to be working closely at the moment with Portsmouth, Tranmere Rovers and Queens Park Rangers. For more information on the “Working Together” project please see

We have received a number of enquiries recently about the LPF “Match Buddies” project which takes a partnership approach to matching disabled people with a ‘buddy’ who has a shared passion for sport to simply enjoy the game, the socialising and the atmosphere together. Unfortunately the project is currently on hold while we try to secure further funding or sponsorship. We believe there is a need for this partnership approach and hope for some news early next year. In the meantime if you wish to register an interest please contact us on or 01244 893584.

Ruth Hopkins, Access & Development Manager met with the Football League last month to discuss a number of topics relating to disabled supporters and we would urge you all to keep us informed of your home and away match day experiences. We regularly work with the clubs and supporters to try and resolve problems but we also like to hear about things being done well so we can share good practice. It’s often the little things that make a big difference.

Ruth was invited to speak at the ASAAL (Ability Sports & Active Lifestyle) Conference in Loughborough about the work we do at Level Playing Field. It was a popular event with around 200 delegates from many different sports, charities and NGOs. Much of the focus was about making sport more inclusive for disabled participants but Ruth’s presentation about the barriers faced by disabled sports spectators was very well received and prompted a lot of interest and discussion around our topic.

Following on from the earlier consultation we were pleased to be invited back to Manchester City to meet with the Design Team and discuss the proposed expansion of the Etihad Stadium in more detail. Involving an Access professional early in the project helps to deliver an inclusive design and we are delighted to bring our experience and expertise.

The SWDFEF (South West Disabled Fans Experience Forum) held their latest meeting in mid – October at the Liberty Stadium, home of Swansea City FC and Ospreys Rugby. Ruth gave a presentation on her role as an Access Auditor at Level Playing Field and talked about what we look for in an access audit and the social model of disability within the context of a disabled sports spectator. There were a number of interesting discussions that followed and a short tour of the facilities at Liberty Stadium. The forums are an excellent opportunity to share ideas and good practice and LPF are hoping to help set up further regional groups based on the SWDFEF model.

LPF Chair, Joyce Cook, OBE and Access & Development Manager, Ruth Hopkins were invited to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People Access to Sports and Fitness evidence session at the House of Commons chaired by Paul Maynard, MP. This was part of a continuing inquiry by “Trailblazers”. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers network is drawing attention to the problems that young disabled people face using public transport and airlines, staying in higher education, using leisure facilities, finding and staying in employment, finding accommodation and going on holiday as part of their Inclusion Now campaign. For more information on Trailblazers visit their web site

LPF Chair, Joyce Cook OBE, LPF Vice Chair, Gary Deards and LPF Access & Development Manager, Ruth Hopkins met recently with Ruth Shaw and Rick Riding at the Sports Ground Safety Authority to discuss a number of topics relating to disabled fans. The SGSA invited Ruth to write an article on Access Audits which was featured in their October newsletter

Joyce Cook was pleased to represent Level Playing Field at several FA150 celebratory events including the FA 150 Gala Dinner at Lancaster Gate and a gathering hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Football Group at the Palace of Westminster.