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Shelter/raised Platform For Wheelchair Spectators

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Got this update today from Iain Laurie at the SMDSA;

Since the January SMDSA meeting Johnny Clark and I have attended two meetings with Brian Caldwell (Chief Executive), Lynn Watson (Ticket Administrator) and Colin Haggerty and Alan Wardrop (both Fans Council) and Iain Brown (Paisley Pumps Ltd )

Phase 1 - Raised platform at rear of main stand

When the Stadium was completed in 2009 it was built to comply with the Gold Standard. However the rules have been altered and because the Stadium does not have a raised viewing platform for 10 wheelchair spectators and carers it has been relegated to Silver Standard. Consequently the Club has decided to install a metal 10 wheelchair and carer platform situated in the press area at the back of the main stand. Access will be through the main doors, up in the lift and out past the PA announcers position.

The club has acquired a quotation for the work from Paisley Pumps Ltd and have applied for a grant from the Scottish Football Partnership and this will be considered by them at their next meeting on 17th February. If this application is successful the work will be carried out during the close season. If it is not successful other types of funding will be pursued. Hopefully we will have good news for you at our next meeting on 22nd February.

The Club intend that the platform will be for the use of and administered by SMDSA members only. We would obviously have to have a meeting in due course to decide on how we would organise the access in order that whatever system we decided would be both transparent and fair. The Club would inform all who apply for wheelchair season tickets at the time of purchase of this facility and the need to become a member of the SMDSA. Presumably this should result in us attracting new members.

Phase 2 - Moveable shelters at the south west and south east corners of the ground

The contractor who has quoted for the raised platform has agreed to investigate the various alternative types of shelter which could be adapted for our needs eg dugout type, bus shelters or bicycle shelters etc. The plan would be that the ground staff who removed the practice goals just before kick off would move the shelters in to position. Wheelchair spectators would purchase their seats as normal but the shelters would be there for use if the weather was particularly bad.

Alan Wardrop is on the board of the St. Mirren Community Trust and has agreed along with me and Johnny to help organise an application for funds from various charitable trusts to cover the costs of the movable shelters.

I trust the above is clear but if you have any queries feel free to contact me.

Regards

Iain Laurie (Secretary - SMDSA)

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Got this update today from Iain Laurie at the SMDSA;

Since the January SMDSA meeting Johnny Clark and I have attended two meetings with Brian Caldwell (Chief Executive), Lynn Watson (Ticket Administrator) and Colin Haggerty and Alan Wardrop (both Fans Council) and Iain Brown (Paisley Pumps Ltd )

Phase 1 - Raised platform at rear of main stand

When the Stadium was completed in 2009 it was built to comply with the Gold Standard. However the rules have been altered and because the Stadium does not have a raised viewing platform for 10 wheelchair spectators and carers it has been relegated to Silver Standard. Consequently the Club has decided to install a metal 10 wheelchair and carer platform situated in the press area at the back of the main stand. Access will be through the main doors, up in the lift and out past the PA announcers position.

The club has acquired a quotation for the work from Paisley Pumps Ltd and have applied for a grant from the Scottish Football Partnership and this will be considered by them at their next meeting on 17th February. If this application is successful the work will be carried out during the close season. If it is not successful other types of funding will be pursued. Hopefully we will have good news for you at our next meeting on 22nd February.

The Club intend that the platform will be for the use of and administered by SMDSA members only. We would obviously have to have a meeting in due course to decide on how we would organise the access in order that whatever system we decided would be both transparent and fair. The Club would inform all who apply for wheelchair season tickets at the time of purchase of this facility and the need to become a member of the SMDSA. Presumably this should result in us attracting new members.

Phase 2 - Moveable shelters at the south west and south east corners of the ground

The contractor who has quoted for the raised platform has agreed to investigate the various alternative types of shelter which could be adapted for our needs eg dugout type, bus shelters or bicycle shelters etc. The plan would be that the ground staff who removed the practice goals just before kick off would move the shelters in to position. Wheelchair spectators would purchase their seats as normal but the shelters would be there for use if the weather was particularly bad.

Alan Wardrop is on the board of the St. Mirren Community Trust and has agreed along with me and Johnny to help organise an application for funds from various charitable trusts to cover the costs of the movable shelters.

I trust the above is clear but if you have any queries feel free to contact me.

Regards

Iain Laurie (Secretary - SMDSA)

About f**king time too. Well done.

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Once again their is a feeling of being let down with regards to the raised platform. It now has transpired that St.Mirren FC are not willing to undertake anything to do with the administration of seating and how overall how it will work. The plan for the raised platform is still progressing however the platform will only be able to take 8 wheelchairs and carers and their is 16members of SMDSA. So the only way to work it, is for 8 members to be under cover for 1 week(group A) and at the following home game the remaining 8 members would have their place (Group cool.png. It is possible that some press seats could be removed as we have too many press seats at present but SMDSA would require funding for it. Both John Clark and Iain Laurie have arranged to look at where we would get the additional money from, the same 2 gentlemen will administer it. The 2 men mentioned are working tirelessly and now face more work, whilst some other members are compiling reports on what its like for disabled St.Mirren Supporters at away grounds, whilst compiling membership cards and compiling a report with photographs for away disabled supporters at our own ground, all of which is being done voluntary without expenses. To be fair those that are undertaking the work knew in advance that expenses would not be paid.

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Once again their is a feeling of being let down with regards to the raised platform. It now has transpired that St.Mirren FC are not willing to undertake anything to do with the administration of seating and how overall how it will work. The plan for the raised platform is still progressing however the platform will only be able to take 8 wheelchairs and carers and their is 16members of SMDSA. So the only way to work it, is for 8 members to be under cover for 1 week(group A) and at the following home game the remaining 8 members would have their place (Group cool.png. It is possible that some press seats could be removed as we have too many press seats at present but SMDSA would require funding for it. Both John Clark and Iain Laurie have arranged to look at where we would get the additional money from, the same 2 gentlemen will administer it. The 2 men mentioned are working tirelessly and now face more work, whilst some other members are compiling reports on what its like for disabled St.Mirren Supporters at away grounds, whilst compiling membership cards and compiling a report with photographs for away disabled supporters at our own ground, all of which is being done voluntary without expenses. To be fair those that are undertaking the work knew in advance that expenses would not be paid.

Surely the club would be in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 2010 by not administering the seating in the same manner as they would for any able bodied customer in the ground

29 Provision of services, etc. (1) A person (a “service-provider”) concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public (for payment or not) must not discriminate against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service

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Once again their is a feeling of being let down with regards to the raised platform. It now has transpired that St.Mirren FC are not willing to undertake anything to do with the administration of seating and how overall how it will work. The plan for the raised platform is still progressing however the platform will only be able to take 8 wheelchairs and carers and their is 16members of SMDSA. So the only way to work it, is for 8 members to be under cover for 1 week(group A) and at the following home game the remaining 8 members would have their place (Group cool.png. It is possible that some press seats could be removed as we have too many press seats at present but SMDSA would require funding for it. Both John Clark and Iain Laurie have arranged to look at where we would get the additional money from, the same 2 gentlemen will administer it. The 2 men mentioned are working tirelessly and now face more work, whilst some other members are compiling reports on what its like for disabled St.Mirren Supporters at away grounds, whilst compiling membership cards and compiling a report with photographs for away disabled supporters at our own ground, all of which is being done voluntary without expenses. To be fair those that are undertaking the work knew in advance that expenses would not be paid.

This really needs to be clarified by the club as a matter of urgency.

I accept that the work was only undertaken to preserve the gold rating... much as I abhor that as being the main catalyst... but now that the work is being sanctioned... why not make it wholly adequate to meet the needs of our supporters who have disabilities?

This should not be a grant-based ground improvement based on a grading... but a common decency inspired desire to improve our stadium driven by need and the will to do the right thing.

Have you spoken to our new General Manager? I would imagine he would be wholly sympathetic.

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Once again their is a feeling of being let down with regards to the raised platform. It now has transpired that St.Mirren FC are not willing to undertake anything to do with the administration of seating and how overall how it will work. The plan for the raised platform is still progressing however the platform will only be able to take 8 wheelchairs and carers and their is 16members of SMDSA. So the only way to work it, is for 8 members to be under cover for 1 week(group A) and at the following home game the remaining 8 members would have their place (Group cool.png. It is possible that some press seats could be removed as we have too many press seats at present but SMDSA would require funding for it. Both John Clark and Iain Laurie have arranged to look at where we would get the additional money from, the same 2 gentlemen will administer it. The 2 men mentioned are working tirelessly and now face more work, whilst some other members are compiling reports on what its like for disabled St.Mirren Supporters at away grounds, whilst compiling membership cards and compiling a report with photographs for away disabled supporters at our own ground, all of which is being done voluntary without expenses. To be fair those that are undertaking the work knew in advance that expenses would not be paid.

Stripey are some of the member not in other stands as it's their preference, hence the idea of moveable shelters.

Apologies if I wrong.

Edited by pod

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Stuart Dickson

Surely the club would be in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 2010 by not administering the seating in the same manner as they would for any able bodied customer in the ground

ANSWER

I am unclear as to the answer to this Stuart, however I'll raise the matter at our next meeting in March and get back to you.

BuddieinEK

This really needs to be clarified by the club as a matter of urgency.

I accept that the work was only undertaken to preserve the gold rating... much as I abhor that as being the main catalyst... but now that the work is being sanctioned... why not make it wholly adequate to meet the needs of our supporters who have disabilities?

This should not be a grant-based ground improvement based on a grading... but a common decency inspired desire to improve our stadium driven by need and the will to do the right thing.

Have you spoken to our new General Manager? I would imagine he would be wholly sympathetic.

ANSWER

You are correct BuddieinEK it is a matter of urgency and of great concern. Brian Caldwell, when he was CEO was helpful to an extent, however he was constrained by St.Mirren's financial situation. Due to the turmoil what with David Longwell leaving and the appointment of Tony Fitzpatrick, who to be fair only undertook his position officially on the day of our meeting, the club was in a bit of turmoil and had not had a chance to deal with SMDSA, still as a group I'm confident that our new CEO will act favourably when he has had a chance to settle into his new position following talks with Iain Laurie and John Clark as well as attending one of our meetings.

POD

Stripey are some of the member not in other stands as it's their preference, hence the idea of moveable shelters.

Apologies if I wrong.

ANSWER

If you wish to remain where you are seated at present, then that is not a problem, you will get the same seat when you purchase your season ticket, you will be asked at the same time if you are a member of SMDSA and if you are you will be given a form to complete. At present it is looking more likely that funding will be granted for the raised platform however the bus shelters will be unlikely to be in place for next season, but once again both John Clark and Iain Laurie have been tasked to looking into funding for these.

Whilst their is some good news with regards to the raised platform, it is still not a creditable solution for all of St.Mirrensdisabled fans and we, as a group, have not even taken into consideration away fans, perhaps we could end up with how Motherwelltreat the away disabled support and give us a plastic poncho.

Edited by stripey

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At the moment all that is awaited is the knocking through a wall as assurances have been given with regards to funding, however as a group and the chairman and secretary have thought before that we would get the required work done, this is the first time it has went as far along the road as it has been and the vast majority think this time it will go ahead, but you just never know until the construction is started. You will not see any construction taking place at the moment as work is not due to start till the close season. Another thing is as soon as the figure for the sum of money needed for the raised platform is rubber stamped, the secretary (Iain Laurie) will let all members know.

Another matter being looked into, is how in the case of an emergency does disabled people in wheelchairs get evacuated from the stadium if you are seated on the raised platform. Brian Caldwell had stated that was no problem, without giving a definitive answer.

Edited by stripey

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This really needs to be clarified by the club as a matter of urgency.

I accept that the work was only undertaken to preserve the gold rating... much as I abhor that as being the main catalyst... but now that the work is being sanctioned... why not make it wholly adequate to meet the needs of our supporters who have disabilities?

This should not be a grant-based ground improvement based on a grading... but a common decency inspired desire to improve our stadium driven by need and the will to do the right thing.

Have you spoken to our new General Manager? I would imagine he would be wholly sympathetic.

Its a bit like the new chancellor coming in after the election to find the note "there is no money.... We spent it on a bar for the fans council"

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Its a bit like the new chancellor coming in after the election to find the note "there is no money.... We spent it on a bar for the fans council"

Oft... That's harsh... That hurts... And know what... the barbs may well be deserved.

I pay my SMISA membership... but at no point have I thought to petition them to redirect funds to this project to get it done as a matter of priority.

Fans who are most affected seem to be the most patient here... Not this season... Hopefully next!

WTF... Get it sorted NOW.

No excuses... Make it happen.

SMISA board... Can you help?

Does it need a separate appeal?

What do we have to do to see this sorted in a reasonable timescale?

Anyone wondering what a reasonable timescale is... Sit in the front row of the stand for a few games... just a reasonable timescale... at present till next season! Not too much to ask is it?

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Oft... That's harsh... That hurts... And know what... the barbs may well be deserved.

I pay my SMISA membership... but at no point have I thought to petition them to redirect funds to this project to get it done as a matter of priority.

Fans who are most affected seem to be the most patient here... Not this season... Hopefully next!

WTF... Get it sorted NOW.

No excuses... Make it happen.

SMISA board... Can you help?

Does it need a separate appeal?

What do we have to do to see this sorted in a reasonable timescale?

Anyone wondering what a reasonable timescale is... Sit in the front row of the stand for a few games... just a reasonable timescale... at present till next season! Not too much to ask is it?

Better still profit from bar is directed to funding "Fit For Purpose" disabled facility.... Including all necessary access??? Edited by Lord Pityme

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Hi BuddieinEK

With regards to your question I had said I would raise the matter at our March meeting, however the Chairman (John Clark) and Secretary Iain Laurie) have looked into the matter and below is the answer received.

I thank you for your and other supporters of St.Mirren for your interest in SMDSA and as the chairman says, as a group we would welcome and appreciate any St.Mirren supporters particularly those working in the care sector to take out Membership, it is a mere £2 per season.

Hi Blair,
As I understand the wording of the act, clubs must provide a %age of each stand's capacity for use by disabled supporters, wheelchair and ambulant disabled. As it stands SM are within the wording of the act by providing the front rows essentially for disabled. They may be outwith the spirit of the law in that in inclement weather this provision is not fit for purpose. Iain and I have been arguing for a raised viewing area in the stands for over two years now and because of the club's lack of same they have lost their gold status in provision for disabled fans with the SFA. However, we move on now Blair and try and find funding from some other area , local businesses, charities, grants. Ultimately it is the responsibility of St Mirren and they could lose revenue by the stadium not being compliant for Scotland U20 and Scotland Ladies matches. Ross County, just over a year ago were favourites for the drop. Now they are contenders for the Europa League. By 2018 we would be disbarred from Europe because of non compliance.

As to membership of SMDSA, This is open to any interested parties, particularly carers and people who work in the sector. I hope I've covered everything Blair.
Cheers. From The Chairperson of SMDSA(John Clark and ( Iain Laurie) the Secretary of the same organization.

Edited by stripey

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The fans council(as per section 3 of their February minutes, with regards to the raised platform) deserve a big thank you, for their assistance in this matter. I suggest all readers and contributors of www.blackandwhitearmy.com read these minutes.

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The raised platform has eventually come to fruition through the efforts of Johnny Clark(Chairperson) and Iain Laurie (Secretary) SMISA and the fans council. The platform is to be built at the press seats in the main stand, which will afford wheelchair fans cover from the elements, which for years we have been asking for, but with the perseverance from Johnny Clark and Iain Laurie success is now apparent.

The new platform should be in position for next season.

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The raised platform has eventually come to fruition through the efforts of Johnny Clark(Chairperson) and Iain Laurie (Secretary) SMISA and the fans council. The platform is to be built at the press seats in the main stand, which will afford wheelchair fans cover from the elements, which for years we have been asking for, but with the perseverance from Johnny Clark and Iain Laurie success is now apparent.

The new platform should be in position for next season.

That's great news.

Everything seems to be on the up at our Club presently.

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You are right shull, everything at SMFC seems to be good or at the very least progressing. This has come about by everyone and group pulling together. The St.Mirren supporters have contributed vastly to our turn around,and I am sure that SMISA will have the support of SMDSA as will the fans council.

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Where have the Press to sit?

On their bums lol.gifbut seriously I ,m sure SMFC will have this in hand. The press will still be seated where they are now, it's purely a matter of them loosing a few of about 12 seats reserved for the press. ​

Edited by stripey

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Where have the Press to sit?

Hopefully track side on a wee plastic bucket seat exposed to the elements. Perhaps that way there will be greater coverage of the plight being suffered by many wheelchair fans up and down the country. The press don't pay to get in anyway so f**k 'em.

Edited to add - I'd also relocate the Directors Box to the same area, force them to eat the pies on offer in the pie stall and exclude them from any warm boxes with lavish food spreads and alcohol at half time. f**k em too.

Edited by Stuart Dickson

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As far as I am aware the raised platform being built in the main stand during the close season will be for wheelchair users and their carers who have membership of SMDSA, this will provide cover for those in inclement weather. Both Johnny Clark (Chairman) and Iain Laurie (Secretary) have also sought quotations for portable bus shelters as well that are to be placed at 2 of the corners of the ground, but as usual funding is the main problem.

It so happens the AGM of SMDSA takes place tonight at 7pm in the boardroom of St.Mirren 20-21 Stadium (George Adam) chairman of SMISA along with his wife both of whom are also members of SMDSA will be in attendance.. Whilst you and your carer are welcome to attend the meeting you would not be entitled to vote.

As I have said before in prior posts you and your carer would be welcome to join and you would get more of an insight as to the workings of SMDSA. Of course SMDSA work for all disabled people not just members. I am sure any further questions you have would be taken most seriously and answers given. I would urge you to attend, I can assure you that you will not be the only ambulant disabled person in attendance

In furtherance to your question as Johnny Clark and Iain Laurie originally stated

In the past year, the SMDSA has gone from strength to strength. Our membership is growing and, together with club, we have considerably improved the experience of home and away fans. Trained stewards are more sensitive to the needs of fans, snacks are delivered to all 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, covered ‘mini-stand’ for wheelchair users and provision for visually impaired supporters.

List of the achievements of the SMDSA in the last year namely:-

1. Zero Disabled Parking charge on production of Blue Badge and pass from St.Mirren ticket office (See Iain Laurie) secretary. (Achieved)

2. Arranged for girls from food kiosk to take orders and deliver food and drink to disabled fans and carers during the first half of matches (Achieved).

3. Formed excellent working relationship with Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick. (Achieved)

4. Formed successful contact with Fans Council and SMISA ( Achieved)

5. Prepared 'Away Fans Protocol' and had arranged for club's agreement. (Achieved)

6. Established link on club website.(Achieved)

7. Arranged advertising of the SMDSA on the electronic scoreboard.(Achieved)

8 Reports completed for St.Mirren fans on: travel, ticketing, facilities and overall experiences at away grounds (Achieved)

9 Report with pictures for away disabled fans visiting St.Mirren 20/21 Stadium (Achieved).

10 Membership Cards (Achieved)

We also have plans to improve more 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]

Edited by stripey

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As far as I am aware the raised platform being built in the main stand during the close season will be for wheelchair users and their carers who have membership of SMDSA, this will provide cover for those in inclement weather. Both Johnny Clark (Chairman) and Iain Laurie (Secretary) have also sought quotations for portable bus shelters as well that are to be placed at 2 of the corners of the ground, but as usual funding is the main problem.

It so happens the AGM of SMDSA takes place tonight at 7pm in the boardroom of St.Mirren 20-21 Stadium (George Adam) chairman of SMISA along with his wife both of whom are also members of SMDSA will be in attendance.. Whilst you and your carer are welcome to attend the meeting you would not be entitled to vote.

As I have said before in prior posts you and your carer would be welcome to join and you would get more of an insight as to the workings of SMDSA. Of course SMDSA work for all disabled people not just members. I am sure any further questions you have would be taken most seriously and answers given. I would urge you to attend, I can assure you that you will not be the only ambulant disabled person in attendance

In furtherance to your question as Johnny Clark and Iain Laurie originally stated

In the past year, the SMDSA has gone from strength to strength. Our membership is growing and, together with club, we have considerably improved the experience of home and away fans. Trained stewards are more sensitive to the needs of fans, snacks are delivered to all 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, covered ‘mini-stand’ for wheelchair users and provision for visually impaired supporters.

List of the achievements of the SMDSA in the last year namely:-

1. Zero Disabled Parking charge on production of Blue Badge and pass from St.Mirren ticket office (See Iain Laurie) secretary. (Achieved)

2. Arranged for girls from food kiosk to take orders and deliver food and drink to disabled fans and carers during the first half of matches (Achieved).

3. Formed excellent working relationship with Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick. (Achieved)

4. Formed successful contact with Fans Council and SMISA ( Achieved)

5. Prepared 'Away Fans Protocol' and had arranged for club's agreement. (Achieved)

6. Established link on club website.(Achieved)

7. Arranged advertising of the SMDSA on the electronic scoreboard.(Achieved)

8 Reports completed for St.Mirren fans on: travel, ticketing, facilities and overall experiences at away grounds (Achieved)

9 Report with pictures for away disabled fans visiting St.Mirren 20/21 Stadium (Achieved).

10 Membership Cards (Achieved)

We also have plans to improve more 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]

Thank you for your quick response,I am stopped from driving so I cant get down for the meeting as my wife doesn't drive, If you pm me nearer the start of the season we will gladly meet you and Join

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