St.Helens R.F.C. is a caring club which takes seriously its responsibilities in regard to Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act and Equality Act 2010.
This policy sets out how disabled supporters attending home matches will be accommodated at The Totally Wicked Stadium, McManus Drive, St.Helens WA9 3AL and how the Club will underpin its commitment to disabled supporters.
Discrimination against disabled people, whether spectators or customers will not be tolerated. The Club have endeavoured to provide excellent facilities for disabled people but recognise that from time to time reasonable adjustments will need to be made to provide full compliance with the DDA.
- The impairment must have a ‘substantial adverse effect’ and means more than minor or trivial.
- The Effect must be ‘long term’ it must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months, or likely to last for the rest of the person’s life.
- The impairment must adversely affect ‘normal day to day activities’
A disabled person is defined as “any person who, because of their disability or impairment, is unable to use ordinary stand seating without contravening Health and Safety Regulations, guidelines or policy”.
Any such persons will be considered for use of the special provision areas of the stadium according to the procedures outlined in this policy.
Disabled persons may be described in the following categories:
- Largely dependent on using a wheelchair for their daily activities
- Suffering from hearing loss
- Having a visual impairment
- Having learning difficulties
- Having ambulatory disabilities (i.e. uses a walking stick, crutches etc.)
- Has a physically restricting medical condition.
- Having mental health needs.
- Older people who have reduced mobility.
All cases will be treated fairly on balance of the circumstances.
Wheelchair Dependant Supporters:
Wheelchair accommodation is provided around the playing area in front of the North and South stands. Accommodation is provided at ground level and enables a good viewing area of the pitch. Wheelchair accommodation is also available on elevated platforms in the North, West and South Stands. People wishing to use these platforms must contact St.Helens R.F.C. for availability, as PEEPS need to be prepared. Accessible toilets are provided solely for use by disabled persons throughout the stadium.
There are dedicated accessible car parking spaces which are located at the rear of the North West and South East Stands; they are both accessed from Peasley Cross Lane.
The club would ask that people recognise that there are a limited number of spaces available and it will not be possible to accommodate everyone who has a blue/orange badge. The spaces will be allocated to Members on a priority basis with those in receipt of the higher rate of mobility allowance being allocated a space in the first instance; however, requests for the remaining places can be made by people with other mobility difficulties. All requests will be judged on their merits, and this system will provide a fair way of ensuring those with the greatest need have priority. We suggest that due to places being limited fans make alternative arrangements to parking at the stadium.
Disabled persons may be asked by the club to provide qualifying documentation relating to their disability in order to qualify for accessible seating so that PEEPS can be prepared for any emergency evacuations. (See Ticketing for Disabled Spectators – Terms and Conditions)
30 per cent of the available spaces on the South East car park have been allocated to away disabled supporters; this is close to the accommodation for away supporters; they must contact the Ticket Office at The Totally Wicked Stadium to book their place before the Thursday of the Friday evening game, or in the case of any other fixture date a day before the game. This is so that any unused spaces can be allocated to other disabled supporters. Some proof of the disability will be required; however registration of their disability with their home club will suffice. Wheelchair users visiting the stadium as part of a corporate hospitality package will have access to parking spaces on the South East car park; they must contact the club in the week prior to the game to advise of any relevant disabilities in order that PEEPS can be completed; on arrival you will be greeted by a dedicated steward.
Wheelchair access to the stadium with a carer or personal assistant will be via designated gates at the North, East and South West areas of the Stadium, these are clearly marked. Lifts are available to access the wheelchair accessible elevated platforms and these will be operated by dedicated stewards. PEEPS will be completed for all wheelchair users on the elevated platforms.
All disabled supporters will be admitted to the Stadium at the rate applicable to their age range (obtainable from the ticket office on Tel. 01744 455052. If a disabled spectator is accompanied by a Carer or personal assistant one carer will be allocated a free ticket. Please note that not all disabled spectators attending a game require a carer/personal assistant they may simply be attending with their partner, friend or colleague and in which case they will not be entitled to a free carer ticket.
Tickets cannot be obtained via the internet and spectators must contact the Ticket Office at The Totally Wicked Stadium direct.
Spectators Hearing Impairment:
There are currently no specific provisions in place for supporters with hearing impairments and the general published ticket prices apply to supporters with hearing impairments.
Spectators Visual Impairment:
Supporters with visual impairments can be accommodated in the any of the stands in the stadium. Audio commentary is available in all areas of the Stadium via the audio wire free device. The club has ten sets of wire free audio devices with live commentary available at every home game. Supporters wishing to avail themselves of this facility must contact the ticket office on 01744 455052 or Geoff Ward on 07921158713 who co ordinates issues on the day. The audio devices are distributed by Geoff Ward at the Stewards facility in the South East Quadrant of the stadium next to the First Aid Room.
The sets are free but you will need to leave your RNIB OR VISA card which will be returnable when you return the headset. Geoff Ward and the stewards will know where spectators using the audio commentary are accommodated so that in an emergency they can offer assistance. Visually impaired spectators pay general published prices and the guide has free access.
Visually impaired spectators with guide dogs wishing to attend matches must contact the Club’s Disabled Supporters Liaison Officer for all relevant information. Health and safety is paramount and that includes the health and safety of all spectators, in the event of an emergency evacuation. RNIB and VISA also recommend that visually impaired spectators with guide dogs contact the St.Helens club for information and advice tel. 01744 455052 The Stadium has been constructed with some freedom of choice for visually impaired persons with guide dogs and or a sighted guide.
However, standing accommodation does present safety issues in certain circumstances. Access is provided at pitch level and this area does provide more comfort for guide dogs. However, the Club appreciates that guide dogs are adaptable and can make the most use of limited space. Crowd levels will dictate usage of standing accommodation, but the Safety Officer will discuss all options with individuals in an effort to ensure the safety of all.
Spectators – Learning Difficulties:
Supporters’ with learning difficulties can be accommodated in all seated areas of the stadium. The Totally Wicked Stadium is a mix of seating in the North and South Stands with standing accommodation in the East and West Stands. There are quadrants in the South East and South West with seating. General published ticket prices apply to supporters with learning difficulties.
Spectators – Ambulatory Disabled:
Some people use wheelchairs for outdoor mobility purposes, but are not necessarily permanent wheelchair users and many people have severe walking difficulties. These people will be classed as ‘ambulatory disabled supporters’. The supporters with ambulatory disabilities of a severe nature can be allocated seats in the stand or pitch side.
However, each case will be decided on its merits, FOLLOWING DISCUSSIONS WITH THE SUPPORTER as all accommodation is accessed from pitch side via stepped gangways. Requests must be made well in advance to the club, so the supporters’ needs can be assessed correctly. General published ticket prices will apply to supporters with ambulatory disabilities.
Spectators – Older People with Mobility Requirements or with Physically Restricting Medical Conditions:
Please see relevant section in this policy that applies to your needs.
General Access Information:
Passenger Lifts are available in the South Stand and lifts with an evacuation facility are available in the South West, South East and North Stands, all accommodation is also accessible by stairs. Supporters, who have difficulty in reaching seating via stairs, are advised to contact the club prior to attending for advice. Stewards are available to assist and supporters with mobility difficulties should make themselves known to the nearest steward on arrival for help and assistance. The general published ticket prices will apply to supporters with restricting medical conditions and less mobility.
All spectators should be aware that there is not quite 360 degree access around the stadium, as the South Stand is divided by the Main Reception Building.
St.Helens R.F.C. want to move this policy forward and will review it on a regular basis. Any queries over the policy should be addressed to the Disabled Supporters Liaison Officer John Murphy at St.Helens R.F.C., The Totally Wicked Stadium, McManus Way, St Helens, WA9 3NL. In the compilation of this policy the advice of the RFL and Rugby League Disabled Supporters Association was sought, with cognisance of the DDA and Equality Act 2010.
Ticketing for Disabled Supporters – Terms and Conditions:
A disabled person will be asked by the club to provide qualifying documentation relating to their condition in order to qualify for An accessible seat and/or car park place Typical evidence that the club could seek would be one of the following:
- Entitlement to the higher care component of the disability living allowance.
- Letter of confirmation from the Local Authority Social Services department that the person is in receipt of support services.
- Letter from the person’s General Practitioner confirming that they are a disabled person with a recognised impairment that requires extra help.
People on the higher rate of the allowances will be allocated seating/car park spaces as a priority, however, other disabled people must apply for tickets/car parking spaces and these will be allocated on a needs basis.