On a fresh Spring, April day in West Bromwich at the home of “The Baggies”, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Walsall, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Hereford FC, Birmingham City and Wasps Rugby Club respective Disabled Supporters Associations (DSAs) club representatives and community projects were all in attendance for the inaugural Level Playing Field West Midlands Forum.
“I decided to split up the Midlands into West and East in the hope of cutting travel costs for people wanting to attend while also bringing about a more local flavour to procedures. The hope is to have the East Midlands Forum at the start of the new season. ” – Liam Bird (Fans Liaison Officer)
With the continuing change of format to previous years under the guidance of Liam, Level Playing Field brought tasks, discussions and a guest speaker to all that donned there *flat cap and made their way to the Black County for what was a “Bostin” forum.
(*Flat cap was optional)
“When I saw the length of the forum and saw that we were based only in the one room, I was a little wary that the event might be a little too long but in truth, the day just flew by — very enjoyable and informative” – Steve Brettle, WBA DSA.
Level Playing Field’s Chief Executive, Owain Davies kicked off the near 5-hour event that included a thank you on behalf of Level Playing Field for all the clubs and DSAs involvement in the recent record-breaking Weeks Of Action participation and to West Bromwich Albion for hosting today’s event
The day kicked on with a presentation from Mark Miles the Operations Director at West Bromwich Albion who gave a presentation on the Accessible Stadia Work that has been conducted at The Hawthorns over the past year or so, the club also provided a presentation from their Social Media team on best practices when online.
The attendees were then split up into DSA’s and Club representatives for the first task of the day before we broke for tea and coffees where the opportunity to network with other DSA’s and club representative was encouraged.
After a brew and a natter, it was onto the guest speaker of the day: the all-time most capped blind England football player as well as dual Paralympian, Darren Harris. Darren had the room in fits of laughter as he told his informative story of determination and proving people wrong in his quest to become a dual Paralympian.
With the hard act to follow the WBA DSA took to the floor to discuss the work that they had done to facilitate change at The Hawthorns and took questions from the room before Liam set the room with their second and final task of the day.
“With the high concentration of football clubs in the region, it was fantastic to see the on-field rivalries put to one side to bring about positive discussion and debate on the issue of accessibility at stadia. We have taken the feedback from past Forums and use that information to grow and to create a forum that I hope people found interesting interactive and inspiring to all that attend” – Liam,
Level Playing Field would like to thank all the people who took the time out of their day for attending and a special thank you to Darren Harris for agreeing to be our guest speaker the F.A Disability Role Model Workshop and West Bromwich Albion and their catering staff who made sure we were all fed and watered.
If you are interested in attending a future forum then please email firstname.lastname@example.org