WFC Enables Members Meeting - Tuesday 30th April 2019
Held at The Staff Room, Vicarage Road Stadium
WFC Enables Officers
David Butler Chairman
Philip Linnegar Secretary (part attendance)
Dave Messenger WFC
Andy Jenkins WFC
David welcomed everyone to the meeting, and thanked Dave Messenger and WFC for hosting the meeting. David also thanked Andy Jenkins for joining the meeting.
Attendees as per the attendance list.
Apologies received were noted.
2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes had been published and appeared on the WFCE website. The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.
3. Matters arising
David pointed out that the revised Enables constitution agreed at the AGM had been updated and is available on the Enables website – www.wfcenables.co.uk
No other matters arose that were not going to be dealt with on the agenda.
4. Chairman's Report
Accessible Stadia Guidelines –WFC has met and exceeded the guidelines with a minor adjustment to the Away end wheelchair numbers required by Health and Safety plus an additional accessible toilet.
Majority of concerns reported from our members centre around stewarding issues which we will discuss later in the meeting. This is not just a WFC issue but a widespread Premier League concern.
Membership – 178, a few less than last year.
There is a continual need to promote of Enables Membership as we strive to represent all WFC disabled supporters. The more members we have the stronger the Enables voice, so please promote us at every opportunity.
If you are going to an away match you usually lack detail of where to enter, where your seat is, is there a lift?, are there steps? etc. We are trying to remedy that at PL level –
WFC have been complimented many times on providing a detailed Away end graphic with every ticket plus it is on our website and WFCs- not rocket science to fix the problem!
AccessAble, who are attending my next DAG meeting, complimented WFC as the best club for away communications.
In my second year as Chair of the Premier League Disability Advisory Group (DAG) and we have our third meeting at Anfield on 8th May.
We continued the Away Survey on the DAG website (www.pldag.co.uk) and I thank all the Watford supporters who have taken part. Both the PL and EHRC have written to clubs based on the information collected.
We set up a separate Questionnaire for the 4 clubs involved in the FA Cup Semis to monitor concerns about disability transportation and other issues encountered. We received 147 responses, across all disabilities from all 4 clubs.
As a direct result Quintain (Wembley managers) approved treble the number of accessible vehicles for use at all future events (not just football ) at the stadium.
I plan to review the outcome for each club with the PL at the end of the season
I have written a 35 page revision of the Accessible Stadia Guidelines and reviewed it with the SGSA and the EHRC and incorporated their comments. In particular I want to promote improvements and increase the focus on ambulant disabled; proportionate facilities for away fans and also a clearer specification regarding what constitutes “elevated” and clearer defining of sight lines.
Finally what an exciting season for our club, long may the success continue – I think it will with the quality of our manager.
Last but not least in my report - I would like, on behalf of the Enables Group to pay tribute to Heurelho Gomez - a model professional who put his heart into our club and who has supported many disabled fans particularly children. We thank him, we’ll miss him and wish him great success in whatever direction his career takes in the future.
There was no report needed from the Secretary.
The Treasurer was not able to attend but confirmed there was no movement in funds which stood at £677.40p.
5. Agenda items
a) Accessible stadium project update – See Chairman’s report
b) Stewarding – incursions into disabled areas
Having discussed at length the difficulties of stewarding the incursion into disabled areas, particularly in the lower Graham Taylor stand but also to some extent in the Rookery stand and Andy stated we will have increased focus on instruction to stewards in these areas and signage will be erected stating the areas are restricted to disabled supporters. The situation will then be monitored as to the effectiveness of these changes.
c) Chater car parking
David was pleased to announce that the parking fee concession at Chater School will continue with pricing unchanged.
He also reported that some break-ins had occurred while the football matches were taking place and a laptop and handbag was stolen. When offers of renewals are sent out warnings will be included in also instructions as to how to access your parked car in the school grounds in an emergency.
d) Hearing and visual impairment support
Dave Messenger reported improvements to the number and positions of loops around the ground.
He also confirmed there were sufficient numbers of headsets for the visually impaired.
e) Away stadiums
for the thousands who visits away stadiums David is trying to encourage all Premier League clubs to produce detailed graphics similar to that produced by Watford for fans visiting us.
AccessAble have praised Watford as the best Premier league club for communications with away fans and we are apparently always used as an example. Top marks to our club.
Any other business from the floor
there were many criticisms of ticketing and access which were discussed.
A questionnaire produced by David’s Premier League Disability Advisory Group for the Watford/Tottenham match and for the FA Cup semi-finals produced 147 responses and resulted in treble the number of accessible minibuses being provided the stadium and review of disability facilities and communication in the future.
Andy confirmed there is an overall contract for all the lifts and they have been working well but on the day of the Arsenal match one failed in the away section and could not be fixed instantly hence the criticism from the Arsenal disabled fans.
3) Coaches – tipping and drop-off points
the question concerning tipping on coaches and set down points is to be referred to the coach company and the stewards on duty Action Dave messenger
4) Match day survey
The Premier League have created a match day experience survey for each club aimed at disabled supporters and all enables members are encouraged to complete it. It takes about five minutes.
David closed the meeting at 21.10pm and thanked everyone for coming and taking part.