Manchester United has opened a Changing Places facility at Old Trafford. Changing places announced this as the 800th Changing Places facility in the UK.
Manchester United is the third Premiership club to make this provision alongside Arsenal and Liverpool.
This fully accessible toilet with a hoist, height adjustable bench and enough room for 2 carers will transform the matchday experience for disabled fans, who in some cases have had to lie down on toilet floors to be changed. Others have in the past been unable to attend games due to their accessibility and toileting requirements.
One such example of this was Simon.
Simon is a keen football supporter – he supports Manchester United and Cambridge City. He enjoys going to see Cambridge City play home matches. He loves the atmosphere at a match – particularly the noise and the chance to interact with lots of people. The atmosphere is best when his team is winning!
Simon has always wanted to see Manchester United play, but that was not a possibility in the past. There would be no way he could travel the distance and then go to a stadium without a suitable changing facility. He would be stranded! Now Wwith the facilities that are in place he can enjoy the thrill of Old Trafford. You can read more of Simons story on the Changing places web site.
Tony clough a Volunteer Changing Places Campaigner Originally Wrote to MUDSA (Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association) back in 2013 and highlighted the benefits a changing places facility would bring the club. Unfortunately at the time the idea was not taken up.
While meeting with Richard Arnold, Managing Director of Manchester United and David French the Director of Venue, we provided details of Tonys emails, and explained that on Match Days, fans were having to Lie on the floor in order to be changed. It was very clear that at that point they both decided that action needed to be taken.
Tony told United Discriminates:
“After 3 years of trying to introduce Changing Places toilets to the Premier League grounds Old Trafford is now the third stadium to install one. This means that severely disabled people can now have the opportunity to go to a match. Able bodied fans don’t think twice about if they can go to the loo at a game but if there were no suitable toilet facilities you and I would definitely think twice before watching our team!
This is one small but important piece of the jigsaw to improve accessibility at the Theatre of Dreams. Thank you to all involved and I hope to see other clubs follow. There really are no excuses.”
Rossanna Trudgian, from the Changing Places Consortium also commented on the latest Old Trafford Development and said.
“The Changing Places Consortium are thrilled that Manchester United has installed a Changing Places toilet; the 800th in the UK! The availability of Changing Places will enable thousands of fans to enjoy going to games at Old Trafford safe in the knowledge that there is a toilet available to meet their needs.
We are so grateful to all the campaigners who lobbied the club to get the facility installed, particularly United Discriminate who have played a crucial role in this campaign victory.We hope they inspire other fans to get Changing Places installed at other stadiums.
Currently, Manchester United is just one of the three Premiership football clubs in the UK to offer Changing Places facilities for fans, along with Arsenal and Liverpool. We believe that Premiership football clubs can and must do more to meet the access needs of all their fans and this includes the provision of Changing Places.
Our campaign sponsors Aveso were involved from the beginning of the project and completed the installation. Aveso were also involved in the installations of Changing Places at Arsenal and Liverpool football clubs. We hope to see many more clubs following the example set by these three clubs in 2016.
We hope to see many more clubs following the example set by these three clubs in 2016.”
United Discriminate are really happy to see the speed in which the club seem to be tackleing real issues that affect there disabled fans. And we believe the Introduction of a Changing place shows the clubs commitments in this. Its another Step in the right direction. There are still improvements to be made, and we will carry on until United are Fully Accessible Stadia Compliant.
It is now hoped that this will help pave the way for more football clubs to install these facilities and provide fully inclusive stadia for their loyal fanbases.