The 16th annual Level Playing Field (LPF) Weeks of Action is underway and Preston North End will be holding its designated fixture for Queens Park Rangers’ visit to Deepdale on Saturday 7th March.
Clubs, disabled supporters’ associations and fans will be joining together to celebrate the matchday experience for disabled fans, with Weeks of Action taking place from Saturday 29th February to Sunday 17th March.
There will be an array of matchday and non-matchday activities hosted by sports clubs that shine a light on the good work that is done to improve the enjoyment and experience of disabled sports fans, including at Preston North End.
Fans at Deepdale will be able to visit a fan engagement stall by the old club shop on the day, where there will be an inflatable penalty shoot out taking place. Alongside this, UCLan will have a fan engagement stall set-up to promote the work being done to make the university accessible for everyone, and will also be providing VI training equipment, with fans able to wear goggles to experience visual impairment while taking penalties.
Preston North End Community and Education Trust are inviting participants from all of their disability provisions to attend the game.
This will include groups from the Sir Tom Finney High School after school sports club, the disability sports sessions for students at Preston’s College and Ashton High School, respectively.
We're also inviting patients from the medium secure mental health hospital Guild Lodge who take part in our weekly on-site football and multi-skill sessions, which form part of patients' occupational therapy timetable.
Both adults and children from our Every Player Counts initiative, in conjunction with the Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre, are also being invited to the game and will form part of preparations and events on the day.
The adults group will form a guard of honour for players walking out for kick-off, while the children’s group will be taking penalties at half-time!
Disabled people are the largest minority group in any population, and with sport having such a unique capacity to bring people together, accessible and inclusive stadia are essential for disabled people to take their rightful places and to participate fully within our society.
For this to be possible, it is important to remove stereotypes and for all barriers to inclusion to be removed, whether they are societal, physical, sensory, intellectual or attitudinal.
Weeks of Action is a celebration of those who make access and inclusion for disabled sports fans a reality, while also recognising that there is much work still left to do.
This is a chance to celebrate the matchday experience for disabled fans. We hope shining a light on the positives of attending a live matchday will help remove those barriers and promote a culture of accessibility and inclusiveness within sport.
Put simply, changing the game for disabled people changes lives.
For more information about the aforementioned disability sport programmes, please contact the Community and Education Trust on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01772 693309.