Chairman’s Report 2012
Hello & welcome to this the 5th Annual General Meeting of the Exeter City Disabled Supporters Association and the following is my Chairman’s report.
For the 5th year running our association’s membership has grown. As I stated at last year’s AGM, our aim is to get too that magic 100 mark. If every member could encourage someone to join ECDSA, we would get there.
In the past year we’ve been working hard in building strong ties with other supporter groups. We already have good ties with some supporters groups, namely the Supporters Club, East and North Devon Grecians.
We now have ties with One game, One community as disability is included in their campaign and as we’re the clubs main disability group they wanted to work with us, which we gladly accepted. We also have ties with the Supporters Trust and copies of our minutes of meetings are sent to them. Working with these other groups, in my view, makes us stronger as a group. Making these ties has been made easier by the re-launch of the Grecian Group Forums by the Supporters Trust in the past season.
I’m always hearing the words ‘ECDSA are leading the way’.
We are finding that more and more clubs are setting up disabled supporter associations’. People within Level Playing Field are telling other clubs about the great work we continue to do for our football club and disabled supporters, all through a hard working group of supporters and all with limited funds. Only a month ago I had a call from the disabled supporters representative from Wolverhampton Wonderers asking about the work we do as they’ve heard good things about us from LPF, they are looking into setting up their own disabled supporters association. We all should be very proud of our achievements.
The following is what we’ve done in the past season:
July 2011: ECFC Disabled & Assistant Information: We continue to send this information to other clubs. We do this via email to save on cost.
Radar Key locking system: We had a system installed to the disabled toilet door within the stadium, key being left with the steward. More details from our Treasurer coming up very soon.
August 2011: ECDSA President: Billy Jones became our President due to Bertie Cozic leaving the club; we would like to thank Billy for his support of ECDSA over the past season. We sponsored his training kit as our president and now have a signed training shirt from Billy, as part of our sponsorship package with the club.
ECFC Ability Counts: We sponsored them again last season.
November 2011: Radar Key locking system: We had another system installed, this time to the disabled toilet downstairs in The Park, with the key being left behind the Centre Spot bar.
SWDFEF: The first ever South West Disabled Fan’s Experience Forum was held here at Exeter City. I had this idea in my head for some years whereby representatives for disabled fans from the Southwest football clubs could exchange views, policies and practices concerning their clubs and associations. This would assist all attendees in their efforts to improve their own club’s disabled facilities. I finally got to work on this idea by pitching it to David Munn of the Yeovil Town DSA, with his help the first forum was held in November. I would like to thank Exeter City for allowing the first forum to take place here at Exeter City and for the free use of the facilities.
Latest news on the forum is that the Football League are interested in the idea and are hopeful that similar forums could be setup in other parts of the country and the next forum will be held at Yeovil Town on the 18th October.
Evacuation Chairs: Used all money raised from a bucket collect to buy two evacuation chairs for upstairs in The Park.
December 2011: Christmas draw: This was again a great success. Thanks to Colin & Margaret for sorting out the draw and for their hard work and to Billy Jones in doing the draw on our behalf.
February 2012: Wheelchair for hire: The manual wheelchair we bought the club last year got damaged, however we got this repaired and decided to buy another one for the club. This gives the club two wheelchairs for hire and these chairs can be used by anyone who has a short term disability and are in need of a wheelchair. There is no charge but we do welcome any donations.
April - May 2012: Most Improved Player of the Year: Members voted again for this season’s winner and the award went to a young player who had made a refreshing mark on the first team. It was with great pleasure to announce that the winner was Scot Bennett. The award was presented to Scot at the clubs end of season gala ball by myself, David and Jeanne Jones. Our award was kindly sponsored by committee member Steve Gazzard for the 4th year running, thanks Steve.
New for next season: 50/50 half-time result boards: We’re bringing back these boards so that the result of the draw can be seen by those supporters with a hearing impairment. We know of some supporters who would buy tickets but haven’t been doing so because they’re unable to hear the result of the draw. The draw is run by the Supporters Club and we are hopeful that those supporters who haven’t been buying tickets will now start buying them again.
Last season Exeter City didn’t have a resident Disability Liaison Officer because when the DLO position I held was handed to Jon Underhill, ECFC Stadium manager at the time, Jon left the club shortly afterwards. Andy Gillard and Clive Pring jointly took up the role on top of their other duties at the club.
After a year off, I’m glad to say that I’ve been reappointed the clubs DLO as a volunteer and I must say ‘I’ve missed it’. If supporters with disabilities have any problems they can still contact us here at ECDSA and the problem will be dealt with, with the utmost urgency, ether by ECDSA or myself as the clubs DLO.
I intend to stay on as your Chairman and if re-appointed I will ensure that we continue to help and support Exeter City Football Club in any way possible by adding or improving the disabled facilities and that all disabled supporters and their personal assistants are treated fairly, as you would expect.
Finally, I would like to thank our committee members for all their hard work and time given for the benefit of our membership and Exeter City over the past season, our members for their continued support and to Exeter City Football Club for allowing us to use their facilities for free for our meetings and to all of you for attending this years AGM.
Thank you all for coming along this evening and thank you for listening!
Nick Saunders, ECDSA Chairman