Minutes of Watford FC ENABLES, held on 22nd June 2017
at 7.00pm, at The Staff Room, Vicarage Road Stadium, Watford FC
Present - Committee
David Butler (DB) Chairman
Phil Nightingale, (PN) Vice Chairman
Phil Linnegar (PL) Secretary (Minutes)
Iain Lamb (IL) Treasurer
Members were asked to sign in.
Dave Messenger (DM) Supporters' Liaison Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Jenkins Safeguarding Manager
Jo Simmonds Ticket Office Manager
David welcomed everyone to the meeting, and thanked Dave Messenger for hosting on behalf of WFC.
2. Minutes of the last meeting.
The minutes were accepted for information.
3. Matters arising
3.1 There were no matters arising not covered on the agenda.
4. Secretary's Report
4.1 PL had nothing to report.
5. Treasurer's Report
5.1 WFCE Treasurer, Iain Lamb, reported that the current account balance was £793.40.
5.2 IL reported that an aged credit balance of £800 was held by Hertfordshire Action on Disability, which had originally been raised to transport WFCE Members to Vicarage Road on match days. However, this account had never been used. PL reported that he had emailed and met with HAD Transport Manager, Philip Caley, who explained the matter would have to be raised with their Finance Director, Jon Bannerjee.
5.3 David explained that the recovery of the aged £800 was needed to help set up an WFCE Hardship Fund. David would seek to move this matter forward as appropriate. PL to send DB details.
Action: PL DB
6. Membership Report
6.1 David reported there were now 144 Members. WFCE represents the majority of physically and sensory disabled supporters.
6.2 Eddie Lucas asked if there was a possibility of doing a promotional video with the teams Premier League players. Dave M noted that the Club need to engage with people who don't come to matches, and with the WFC Trust, there will be an increasing encouragement and welcome to new supporters.
6.3 Eddie thought a promotional video could overcome any pre-concieved ideas of what attending a football match feels like. David B said that the video could also showcase the facilities and assistance available to new supporters, on this continuing theme for current and future generations.
6.4 Eddie mentioned that the Watford-based charity, Polio Foundation, would like to make a link with the Club. Dave M asked if Eddie could provide contact details.
Action: Eddie Lucas
6.5 The group discussed the Access Guide. The challenges are to get new disabled fans along, and the second was that we are aware that more than 100 disabled fans are not yet members. David and Jo are working together to share information to provide a seamless service to disabled fans.
7. WFC Accessible Stadia Plan Enables Group Report
7.1 David tabled his report, "WFC meets agreed commitments to their Disabled Supporters", and referred to the meeting to the Foreword. This has now been circulated to many stakeholders within the Club and throughout the Premier League.
Please note: This report is available on the home page of the WFCE website.
7.2 David B went through the key points of the report.
7.3 From the beginning of the season Vicarage Road will now have 100 wheelchair spaces up from 61 last season but still doesn't meet the Accessible Guideline Requirements (ASG). However, as there was no demand for the extra wheelchair spaces it did not appear to be a reasonable adjustment to remove or displace another 700 seats required to meet the full extent of 153 wheelchair spaces.
The maximum number of wheelchair fans attending last season was 58 for the Man City game and we have NO waiting list. . David had recently met Scott Duxbury and had agreed the position on behalf of WFCE with WFC.
Wheelchair usage will be monitored throughout next season.
Please note WFC meet every other guideline
7.4 Dave reported that the Sensory Room has been used by 40 families, and several have overcome fears of attending matches, and as a result they now sit in the main stadium. The Club will continue to work to provide what is currently the only Sensory Room in the Premier League and underlining the Club's long standing family values. This is now the only Sensory room in the Premier League!
7.5 Dave explained the 'Changing Places' room, a fully accessible disabled toilet and changing facility, and only one of seven provided in the Premier League. This facility qualified for and is now on the National Register.
7.6 Hearing Loops could be considered at every opportunity. Dave is meeting Phil Linnegar shortly to discuss provision.
7.7 Visiting supporters are likewise being provided with support that fully meets the guideline requirements.
8.1 Chater School
8.11 David report that he had agreed reserved parking for Enables Members at Chater School for next season. The parking fee will remain at £8 per game and the cost of 19 games this season is therefore £152. Any cup games are not part of this scheme and will be extra and be payable on the day. An email had been sent out to all WFCE Members who registered an interest.
8.2 Update on Online Ticketing. Last game of last season ambulent disabled and wheelchair tickets were available on-line, so the system works. It will be rolled out for home games next season. Members were encouraged to monitor developments on the WFC website, regarding away days.
8.3 Community Events. The Members were hopeful that there would be another WFC Community Event, as these were very popular. Dave M noted this for information.
8.4 Emergency Evacuation. The Club is working towards producing a procedure and plan suitable for safeguarding able bodied and disabled fans. David noted the members' concerns of continuity of provision by the same stewards during the season. David would follow this up with Andy Jenkins.
8.5 Familiar faces. David and Dave would meet with Andy to identify the Disabled Support Stewards before the start of the new season, to clarify the intentions regarding keeping a familiar face for the different areas that would provide continuity and peace of mind for Stewards.
8.6 New Lifts. Gary Armstrong had written to David and had asked if all the lifts are fire-proofed. David would confirm this with Andy Jenkins.
8.61 Disabled Emergency Evacuation Plan, DEEP, (Fire or Bomb). This would be raised by David with Andy Jenkins.
8.7 Staff/Volunteer Recognition. Eddie asked if two stewards who have the Watford 'Family Feel', Ollie and Alan Flower should have recognition from the Club. David and Dave noted this request and a number of other people mentioned who go the extra mile for us.
8.8 SCOPE Report. David talked about alarming and negative attitudes towards disabled fans by able bodied fans. David encouraged the Members to always report issues of discrimination or abuse. The group shared personal examples of how fans largely speaking look after the needs of disabled fans.
8.9 Visually Impaired Supporters. Dave Messenger is currently working with RNIB towards developing some tactile signage and maps of the stadium, and handheld stadium maps.
A Dementia Friends match day is also planned, to raise awareness of the issues.
8.10 Queue control. UGT half time access through thoroughfare to toilets is difficult. No planned method of queue control for refreshments is in place that would make things easier and safer. Access within the toilets are also problematic in terms of steps and lack of hand rails. Dave agreed this could be addressed and asked David to raise this with Andy Jenkins.
8.11 Away Games. Member raised the difficulties felt when visiting Away fixtures, where Visiting Supporters are made to stay in Home areas. David said this was unacceptable explained that this was against the Accessible Stadia Guidelines. This problem should have been solved at all PL grounds by the start of next season.
Any identified problems should be reported to David at WFCE, or Dave at WFC
8.12 Post Match Movement. After the matches, disabled fans can feel isolated when leaving Occupation Road, needing to travel against the slow and large volume of pedestrian traffic. Could stewards be available to marshal Members from the precincts of the VR Stadium.
David to raise with Andy Jenkins.
8.13 Thanks WFC. Eddie thanked Dave on behalf of the Members present and absent. Thanks to Club for taking views on-board from WFC Enables.
6. Date of next meeting
6.1 The date of the next meeting will be held in October/November, the date to be agreed and posted on the website - www.wfcenables.co.uk . This would be in the Staff Room, Watford Football Club, Vicarage Road Stadium. The main theme will be an update of improvements put in place and progress on outstanding actions.
7.1 David thanked everyone for contributing to the meeting, which closed at 21.21 pm.