WFC Enables Group AGM - 7th November 2023 - KO 7.30pm - Agenda / Minutes
Welcome and introductions
Apologies received from :- Richard Walker, Gary Armstrong, Dave Messenger, Brian Gibb, Brian York
Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting
Stewarding of disabled toilets has been improved. Will be continually monitored.
No other issues arose, minutes were accepted.
WFC Staff changes.
Simona Rakovic-Irish – Disability Liaison Officer was no longer with WFC
WFC Enables representatives :-
Dave Newman - Ticketing & Supporter Services Manager
Chris Hall – Supporter Liaison Officer
Chairman's report - see at the end of these minutes
Secretary's report - no report needed.
Treasurer's report - Annual Accounts, Year to 30th September 2023 presented with a surplus of funds amounting to £220. Please scroll down to see the accounts at the end of the minutes.
Resolutions for Approval :-
Change of structure and representation - Unanimously voted in favour
Closure of Enables Bank Accounts - Unanimously voted in favour
Disposal of balance of funds -
Discussion on various usage of these funds.
Suggested use for soccersight equipment countered by WFC stating they are currently looking at upgrading directly.
It was agreed that the £220 be utilised for re-equiping the sensory room with new games and
toys for the attending children. Chair & Treasurer to authorise fund transfer.
Election of Officers
Under the revised Constitution, Officers shall be elected at the AGM for a two year tenure. Voting in future may be held via Zoom to allow more members to participate.
The following Officers / Representatives were unanimously elected by the meeting :-
Chair David Butler
Vice Chair Alan Murray
WFC Dave Newman
WFC Chris Hall
Any other business items requested for discussion :-
Travel on coaches – general deterioration of crowd behaviour
Concern over a group of young WFC fans’ unacceptable behaviour on away coaches. WFC stated that this incident was being dealt with, individuals identified and additional stewarding would be available on the coaches.
It was noted that the behaviour of sections of the crowd, particularly in the away area and also by our own fans on away trips, had deteriorated since the pandemic and continuity of stewarding in the disabled areas was more important than ever to protect these particularly vulnerable fans.
Reconciliation of disabled members and WFC ticket holders contact details
Many Enables members email addresses are bouncing back. It was suggested that members may change email addresses but not update Enables database. Chair and Ticket office will work to reconcile our lists to reinstate contacts.
Access to the Changing facilities while the lift is out of action :-
Gary Murphy requested information on the state of the lift giving access to these facilities.
Ian Pope staed that this lift was old and difficult to access parts for repairs and alternative solutions are being considered.
In the interim, Gary was shown an alternative route to the current facility that met with his approval. An alternative facilitiy would also be considered with a hoist available.
Chair's Report :-
I am going to start with Membership.
Unfortunately our membership has declined this year by 27 mainly due to contact being lost with emails not being delivered and lack of replacement contact addresses. (see minutes for a possible solution)
Regrettably a number also passed away, but we still have 168 and if you count in carers and assistants, Enables does still represent the majority of Watford disabled supporters.
We will continue to promote Enables Membership as we strive to represent ALL WFC disabled supporters. Even with the structure change, the website and email database will still be fully active and members issues be represented at WFC senior management level.
The average age of fans is increasing, particularly within the ambulant sector, who are the fastest growing disabled group due to the aging population. Stadium plans will need to take this into account with requirement for more accessible seating and extra legroom in the future.
According to my equivalents in other disabled supporter’s associations, large meeting attendances usually mean lots of gripes and lists of outstanding problems. Not so at Watford FC, where our owner and senior management continue to fully support and offer consideration for our disabled members which is much valued and appreciated.
I feel a responsibility for away end safety of visiting disabled fans at Vicarage Road but also for the safety and accessibility of our Enables members when they visit other stadiums.
We will continue to provide feedback to clubs we visit, and I thank Gary Armstrong for his continued reporting work at away games.
The next paragraph was written in the last minutes and not a single thing has changed – the revision is now 2 years overdue!
“As you know I have been trying to update the Accessible Stadia Guidelines and the Premier League have continued my involvement as a consultant on the draft of Version 2. I am looking for two particular updates for clarification which will make a real difference to disabled supporters:- the definition of “elevated” and the measurement of “extra legroom” for ambulant fans.
Level Playing Field is creating this revision but the draft is already a year late but I’ll let you know the outcome.”
This is a very important revision, and I will continue to push for its publication.
Finally, whilst changing the structure I would like to take the opportunity of thanking all my current and former Enables Officers and WFC representatives who have been part of our success over the last 9 years since I became Chair. Your support has been much appreciated. Thank you.
See below - Financial Report & Accounts - Year ended 30th September 2023