A special, glass-fronted seating area designed specifically for fans with dementia and autism has been installed at Stoke City’s bet365 stadium.
The move makes Stoke one of the first football clubs in the country to install such a provision and now it boasts an ‘accessibility room’ for supports with specialist needs.
The new dementia-friendly zone is fully wheelchair accessible, boasts a good view of the pitch and is designed to act as an oasis for fans who may be nervous of large crowds.
The club reported that it has so far received “overwhelmingly positive feedback over the new disabled facilities.”
It said: “There has been a need to relocate a few supporters with large wheelchairs from the mid-level due to restricted lift space; all have been offered a higher level or pitch side place.
A room in the main stand is being utilised to provide a facility for supporters with a range of needs, from autism to dementia. It will provide invited match ticket holders with a safe match day room and there is the opportunity for those with dementia, for example, to look at Club memorabilia and meet previous players.”
Stoke is one club working hard to improve facilities for disabled fans following pressure from campaign groups and the EHRC.
Last month it was revealed that Chelsea and Manchester United are among top flight clubs threatened with legal action for failing to meet minimum access standards for disabled fans.
Following revelations that promises made by Premier League clubs two years ago to improve access have not been met by many clubs, grounds are scrambling to improve access and specify solutions like Changing Places facilities.