Luton Town are pleased to support the 2017 Level Playing Field (LPF) Weeks of Action. This annual initiative, now in its 12th year, aims to celebrate access and inclusion for disabled sports fans across England and Wales.
Disabled people constitute the largest minority group at around 15 per cent of the population and this number is increasing year on year. Naturally, a large number of disabled people are football fans too and we are pleased to take this opportunity to thank our own disabled fans for their continued loyalty and dedication to this great club.
This year we are celebrating the ‘Game Changers’ that make a big difference to the matchday experience of our disabled fans. We want to shine a light on those who lead and pioneer change that improves access and inclusion, and in many cases changing the lives of disabled people.
Here at Kenilworth Road, we are lucky to have Allan Drummond as a leading light in helping enhance the matchday experience for our disabled supporters in his role as secretary of the Luton Town Disabled Supporters Association.
Allan, who has a visual impairment himself, told Talk of the Town: “Volunteering for the LTDSA is but one of my roles in life, including being a proud parent of three fast growing wonderful children, a social worker working with young offenders, and last but certainly not least, being a lifelong Luton supporter.
“The reason I put myself forward for the LTDSA role was because of my love for LTFC and a passion to ensure that all supporters can follow LTFC without any barriers.
“I have a visual impairment which I have had from birth and is something I have always lived with and got on with. My eye condition results from a genetic condition known as albinism, which simply effects the pigment in the skin, thus my dislike of hot countries. But this condition also commonly has an effect the eyes, which in my case has left me with around five per cent of the vision most people would normally have.
“Volunteering as part of the LTDSA has been a great adventure so far, but personally I would say that over the past 12 months we have seen some real improvements.
“Firstly, a focus on getting the information out there about what we do and how we can support disabled supporters has resulted in us putting out information through our Facebook page and Twitter feed, but we have also been improving the LTDSA pages on the LTFC website.
“It does take up some of my free time, but like so many others who volunteer, I do it because I want to do my bit to help things improve.
“Then, over the past few months, we introduced the new commentary service for blind and partially sighted people. Again, this took some time in preparation, talking to service providers and other clubs about what they do, then devising a plan and looking at the costs, factoring in what would be the best fit for Luton.
“I had an enjoyable evening pitching our plan to the Luton Town Supporters’ Trust, who then agreed to provide the funding. I think that we have managed to achieve a great service at great value, because the focus was on using the expertise we have here at Luton, which for me make this whole project that much more personal.
“Win, lose or draw, I know that the we now have a fantastic service with Simon Pitts commentating and top quality equipment to deliver that service. From my perspective, it ensures I am fully aware of what is happening on the pitch.
“Having this service saves so much planning in advance, where I used to have to bring an FM and AM radio (fully charged) depending on which local channel we were on, now I can just book and pick up a receiver from the ticket office, no hassle at all.
“Some people may see this as not a very big thing, but for blind and partially sighted supporters this is the difference between sitting in a stadium not having a clue what is going on, and feeling at the heart of the action.
“It has been humbling to receive the amazing feedback from other supporters since the launch, and I am just so happy that people are sharing the benefits with me that many supporters take for granted.”
This Weeks of Action campaign we are joining together with sports clubs, fans and organisations across England and Wales to celebrate the #GameChangers who make a difference for disabled football fans and to promote a message of access and inclusion for all.
In recent weeks we have held a Dementia Awareness training workshop for staff at the club, and welcomed our fans’ charity of the season, Autism Beds, to use one of our executive boxes so that a group of people living with autism could watch a game at Kenilworth Road in a calm and comfortable environment.
Long-standing initiatives to encourage access and inclusion within the club continue. These include the Community Trust’s disability football teams and their superb programme aimed at people at risk of isolation and loneliness, who attend a social group at Kenilworth Road each week.
For more information about Level Playing Field (LPF) and this year’s Weeks of Action, please visit www.levelplayingfield.org.uk email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 0208 621 2403
Alternatively you may wish to send a message of support to @lpftweets on Twitter
using the hashtag #GameChangers