Minutes of Watford FC ENABLES, held on 8th August 2016
at 7.00pm, at The Staff Room, Vicarage Road Stadium, Watford FC
David Butler, Chairman
Phil Linnegar, Secretary (Minutes)
Phil Nightingale, Vice Chairman
Iain Lamb, Treasurer
Glyn Evans, Operations Director
Dave Messenger, Supporters' Liaison Officer
Andy Jenkins, Safeguarding Manager
Jo Simonds, Ticket Office Manager
David welcomed everyone to the meeting, and thanked Dave Messenger for hosting on behalf of WFC.
3. Matters arising (not covered on the agenda)
Upper GT seat move has been completed with Row S added. We will review how successful and appropriate this change is after a few matches.
Accessible Toilets. There is none for Away Supporters at the moment, but plans are in hand. When this is in place and the platform for full contingent of wheelchairs it would make us one of the few Clubs that meets the Away Fans section of the Accessible stadia guidelines.
4. Agenda Items
a) Update on wheelchair provision both home and away and season ticket queries
There is a waiting list of about up to 10 wheelchair season tickets, some aged by 2 seasons. The new provision is not yet ready, and was dependent on the new lift provision around 18 September, in time for the Man Utd game, offered for trial to WFCE on a first come, first served basis, with existing season ticket holders first. The capacity for the new area is approximately 10, and affords a very good viewing position. Personal Assistants would also be in the same area.
Jo explained that a certain number of wheelchair spaces are held back for each match, to meet the regulations.
Delays when exiting the ground from the North East corner pitch side for wheelchair users is a problem as they cannot pass by the tunnel entrance for 10 minutes after the game has finished, the aspiration was to have a lift in the NW corner of GT stand although no provision is currently agreed, but the hope would be for the following 2017/18 season.
b) Disabled Car Parking
In the past WFC had taken a block of parking at Chater School, Addiscome Road, for able bodied and disabled supporters. WFC decided not to continue with this arrangement. However, David had contacted the school directly to put in place the next two daytime home matches, £8 per day payable on the day. David would submit a list of WFCE ahead of each match, and Dave would arrange for two VR Roadies to be on duty to assist. The Business Manager of Chater School was currently on annual leave, after which future arrangements would be formalised.
Away Disabled Fans Spaces - 3 parking spaces at the Service Station are issued first come first served are available, and one further ticket is held back for match day.
New disabled facilities should be available shortly, as alternative parking during televised matches where the Service Station bays are occupied by production vehicles.
c) Call Back update
Call Back process had previously proved helpful for big matches.
Jo recapped that an email would be made available and be a better process that someone would be appointed by the Club to monitor. Jo explained a dedicated trained call handler for disabled fans would not be possible, the email with fan ID, name and telephone number would provide a better starting point for handling queries.
The email address is email@example.com and is available to Jo, Dave and two other members of staff. David said he would immediately add the address to the Enables website.
The system does not have the capability to flag disability, the nearest detection is where there is a link for Personal Assistant. The other possibility is to have a memo box for comments. Ticketmaster may have extra fields available for such use?
Jo thought it might be useful to talk to other Clubs with the same system, to ask how they might flag distinctions among members.
It would be useful for both parties that the WFC and Enables data be shared. Glyn said he would look into the Data Protection aspects.
d) Accessible stadia guidelines
Accessible stadia guidelines compliance was agreed by The Premier League by August 2017.
Ian Lucas asked David for an input to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
David was concerned about a backlash by non-disabled supporters, where Accessible stadia guidelines requires capacity based on need, rather than on demand.
e) Membership update
David reported 116 Members, but only 19 of them are identified as wheelchair users and we need to have them all on our database. The increase represents a doubling of the membership. Dave thanked David and Phil for their efforts.
f) Community Day Feedback
The Community Day, and Chater School had raised 16 and 14 new members respectively. Everyone reported that had been an enjoyable event. There were some issues around accessible toilets, and suggestions were made for improvements. Dave asked for comments to be emailed in, which could be fed in to the Club debrief.
David wanted to be able to provide evidence of the Club supporting making materials. The day was a challenge, with an estimated 8,000 members of the public attending.
David thanked Stephen Anderson, his mother and not forgetting Barney, for manning the Enables stand all day at the Community Day.
g) Financial Report
The WFCE Treasurer, Iain Lamb, reported that the current account balance was £793.40.
h) Any Other Business
VIP - 22 Soccersight headsets are available during each home match.
Hearing Loops: Ticket office and one kiosk, and two in the new Club shop.
Phil Hearing Loop Awareness Week - would be nice if WFC could get more loops in.
Thanks to Club for taking views on-board from WFC Enables.
Hand held devices were proving to be problematic at some entrances. Some stewards were having to swipe tickets through a turnstile to register attendance.
Glyn apologised for the unfinished surface in front of Rookery ahead of Chelsea game.
Swansea were able to sell wheel chair tickets on line, but Jo was looking to see if this was possible at Watford. The email address should help such issues.
6. Date of next meeting
The date of the next meeting will be announced at a later time on the website and by email to all members.
Agenda items are always welcome.
David thanked everyone for contributing to the meeting, which closed at 21.00 pm.