St.Mirren Disabled Supporters Association
The aims of the St Mirren Disabled Supporters Association (SMDSA) and our mission are a reflection of the wider network of the national SDSA.
- To enable disabled people of differing abilities to follow St Mirren
- To achieve equal access for all guests to St Mirren Park
- To increase disability awareness and improve the lives of disabled people using the special influence of football within Scotland
- To promote non-discriminatory practice through raising awareness of special requirements
- To work with the management team to achieve solutions that will enhance each supporter’s experience
- To work with supporters to improve the experience for all fans
- To engage with partners who can help us achieve these aims
Review of 2014-2015
The SMDSA continues to go from strength to strength. Our membership is growing and, together with the club, we have considerably improved the experience of home and away fans. A series of articles in the programme has raised awareness of disability issues among all users of St Mirren Park. Trained stewards are more sensitive to the needs of fans, snacks are delivered to all disabled fans and there is a much improved ticketing procedure. These are only some of the achievements of the last year and we have ongoing projects targeted at a ‘raised area’ for wheelchair users in the West Stand in front of the void, portable ‘wet weather shelters’ and provision for visually impaired supporters (the commentary to be provided by UWS sports journalist students on St Mirren TV).
Some of the achievements of the SMDSA to date:
1. Reduction of Disabled Parking charge to £2 on production of Blue Badge. In addition, the club has allocated 8 free parking passes to home fans. In line with the club’s equality agenda, a further 8 free parking spaces are available to away fans.
2. Arranged for staff from food kiosk to take orders and deliver food and drink to home and away disabled fans and carers during the first half of matches.
3. Formed excellent working relationship with Chief Executive Brian Caldwell. John Clark stated that Brian and the club management in general had been very helpful in expediting everything which the SMDSA had achieved so far.
4. Formed successful contact with Fans Council and in particular with the Chairman Alan Wardrop who has been very helpful. The SMDSA chairman has a permanent place on the Council and it is their stated aim to provide financial support to the SMDSA in season 2015-16.
5. Prepared ‘Away Fans Protocol’ with the club’s agreement. This approach and process is being adopted by other clubs with the support of the national body, the SDSA.
6. Established link on club website under ‘Fan Zone’.
7. Arranged advertising of the SMDSA on the electronic scoreboard.
8. St Mirren became the first club in Scotland to be accredited by Police Scotland in being compliant with having established procedures in combating hate crime directed at disabled supporters.
We also have plans to further improve provision for disabled supporters in the near future. Any feedback is welcome and would be used to further enhance procedures. If you would like to raise any issue, or you wish to join the SMDSA, please contact us at [email protected].
John Clark (Chairman), Iain Laurie (Secretary)