At Forest Green Rovers, we are proud to be an inclusive club as we, along with the EFL, mark the International Day of Disabilities.
From our Ambassador Scheme to our Fit2Last sessions, we are always striving to ensure everyone feels like they count.
The Ambassador programme is fully inclusive and our ambassadors range in ages from seven to 20, with the scheme encouraging our young fanbase to spread the message of doing things ‘Another Way’ through their schools, writing match reports and helping out on a matchday.
“We have four Ambassadors with disabilities this year representing Star College, Alderman Knight School, Abbeymead Primary and Evesham College,” said Sarah Urquhart, head of FGR Community.
“They travel to away matches, communicate their love of FGR in their schools and colleges and arrange visits for their friends and school peers to come to FGR on matchdays.
“Whilst at the ground, they help volunteer on matchdays selling programmes, writing match reports, as well as helping out with welcoming guests and are a massive part of the football club.”
FGR also have the popular Community Stand offer, which is extended to all schools, clubs, community organisations and charities in the local community.
One of those organisations taking up the offer of free tickets to matches throughout the season are the charity Allsorts, who extend the offer to all their members.
Sarah added: “This means that young people can attend matches with their families, or come independently with support workers and also as part of their youth club.
“We have also extended this offer to Gloucestershire County Council’s Fostering team and network this season.
“The team have used matchdays to promote fostering opportunities as well. We welcomed disability football teams from other clubs to the ground last season and look forward to welcoming Northampton Town back for a second year who hope to play a local team from Allsorts prior to our match with them next year.”
Matchdays at The New Lawn are becoming increasingly inclusive, with many fans with disabilities attending from both the home and away sections.
We have lift access and blue badge parking on site allowing home fans and visitors easy access to our facilities.
“As there are now many ambulant disabled and wheelchairs users as well as those with learning and sensory disabilities accessing matchday opportunities, this is posing the club a challenge as we now have to consider availability of seating and viewing areas on the busy games,” explained Sarah.
“We are steadily outgrowing the stadium in this area and this would be a very valid reason to support the proposal for a new ground where facilities both indoors and outdoors are more suited to our diverse fan base.”
Volunteering opportunities are available on a matchday, which enables people with disabilities to further develop their confidence, become more independent and provide life and employability skills.
FGR Community has also secured funding to run the Premier Leagues Primary Stars programme working with Primary Schools and that includes facilitating an Inclusion Festival and targeted interventions in conjunction with schools, which will be coming in the new year to help make us an even more inclusive club in the community.
If you want to contact the club about any of the above, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.