Level Playing Fields (LPF) as an organisation, are a really good friend to people with disabilities who want to receive a proper match day experience at football grounds around the country.
Each year LPF run a two-week campaign to help raise the profile of people with disabilities and Luton Town have always been ‘front and centre’ when it comes to supporting this.
In the UK almost 20% of the population live with disability (Sport England, Active People’s Survey 2019). That’s over 12 million people! That means if we are not disabled ourselves, then we almost certainly know someone who has a disability - in one way or another disability impacts on us all.
It is also important to understand what constitutes a disability as most people would visualise a person in a wheelchair as a disabled person. Indeed, the international symbol for car parking depicts a wheelchair user! – Essentially, the legal definition for disability is: They have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities (Equalities Act 2010).
Disability comes in many different guises including those that we don’t see. So called invisible disabilities. In light of that we should all be more respectful and accepting of each other and ensure our levels of tolerance and understanding reach beyond our normal boundaries.
A great way of helping the cause’ of disabled people would be to become a ‘Disability Ally’. A disability ally is a person who ‘fights the corner’ for disabled people. Sometimes small acts of kindness can have a huge impact on a disabled person’s daily life. Check with a disabled neighbour and see if they need some help!
Make it your goal to find out about disability, how you can help someone you know by making their life a bit easier. We as a community can reshape societal standards for a more inclusive and compassionate environment. A small step that we can all take to achieve this is becoming ‘disability allies.’
Allyship requires just three things – a real desire to be a voice and advocate for disabled people, a thirst for knowledge around disability and how different aspects and conditions of disability affect everyday life and finally gaining the skill set to become an effective ally – this can be gained by engaging with a disabled person to understand their issues and challenges.
Access to buildings or public transport, for example, is a major barrier for people with mobility issues. Forward planning for any trip out, even to the local shops, for all disabled people is a must.
At Luton Town DSA are keen to support the development of disability allies – if you are interested in this, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Hill MBE
Chairman – Luton Town Disabled Supporters Association