Premier League football club Burnley has fitted a new Changing Place facility at Turf Moor as part of wider plans to make the stadium more accessible for disabled supporters.
The Changing Place is situated on the ground floor of the stadium’s Jimmy Mcilroy Stand and will be easily accessible for the whole stand. Burnley has also expanded the stand to include two new three-level wheelchair seating areas, providing fans with a full view of the pitch as well as shelter from the rain.
The new facility has been handed over to Burnley by Innova Care Concepts, whose Changing Places campaign calls for a Changing Place facility, complete with a ceiling track hoist, to be installed in every large public venue across the country.
Burnley’s stadium and operations manager Doug Metcalfe said: “At Burnley, our motto is very much ‘do the right thing’. We’re not dragging our heels when it comes to making our stadium more accessible – we’re doing it because we genuinely want disabled supporters to have everything they could possibly need when they come to Turf Moor. Installing a Changing Place is just one step in making our stadium better-equipped for both home and away supporters.”
The new seating areas will be fitted with permanent seating, ensuring disabled fans can watch the match alongside their family and friends. Burnley has also fitted a new concourse with TVs and wheelchair-level counters for food and drink vendors.
Innova Care Concepts Projects Director Bob Oliver said: “The progress that Burnley is making in the way of accessibility is very impressive; this level of thought and care should be embraced by football clubs all over the UK.
“It also just goes to show how important it is that Changing Places be installed not only in football stadiums – but in all kinds of public facilities. They’re an investment in your building and your customers’ quality of life.”
Last year, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) hit out a number of English football clubs over the lack of disabled access at their respective stadia. Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Hull City and Sunderland were among those criticised.
In February, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium permanently reduced its maximum capacity in order to increase its disabled access by up to 30 per cent. Forty-six new wheelchair bays were created, taking the total number to 214.
Image: Innova Care Concepts