Non-league Spennymoor Town emerged from the demise of two North East clubs Spennymoor United and Evenwood Town in 2005.
Whilst it may not be the first name on the lips of football fans around the country, the club is a shining example of recognising the value of the support it receives from disabled supporters – and what can be achieved on a limited budget.
Here we are in the midst of one of possibly the worst recession in modern times, yet the club has invested in significant changes to its ground, the Brewery Stadium. Some £34,000 – less than most Premiership players will earn in a week – has been spent on improving the facilities for disabled supporters. The club made the decision to go ahead with this work after discovering that some disabled fans were staying away. The scheme includes improved access, a level viewing area, as well as disabled toilets.
The bulk of the funds has been raised by the club and its supporters, with a £5,000 contribution from the local authority. The aim, say the club, is to make the club more accessible for disabled supporters- its all about getting people to use the and support the club.
Without doubt, both the club and the local community will reap the benefits of better inclusion, with more disabled fans (with their family and friends) attending match days at Spennymoor Town. It just goes to show that, with a little effort, major improvements are possible and the return on investment can be substantial for clubs at any level of the football pyramid.