Helping Mobility-Impaired Fans to Major Venues Opens Doors
Thursday, 12th July 2018 at 3:22 pm
A service helping mobility-impaired people attend AFL games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is opening the door for other sporting and cultural venues to provide similar accessibility support.
The service’s success had also presented an opportunity for a sponsor to come onboard, and highlighted how many more people could attend such venues if help was provided.
Travellers Aid Australia (TAA) in April this year started the volunteer-run shuttle service, helping fans across the difficult distance from nearby Richmond train station to the MCG concourse.
The service provided buggies to transport fans the distance, which similar to distances at airports and the like had to be walked, and were difficult to traverse for some people.
TAA CEO Elias Lebbos told Pro Bono News that with an ageing population and one-in-five people identifying as having a disability there was large market sector going to waste.
“It’s a ‘no-brainer’. It’s going to take a little bit of analysis at each site to determine what’s needed and how that can be best implemented, but there’s nothing stopping other facilities considering this sort of support,” he said.
Lebbos said a wide range of people were using the service.
“From older people with mobility challenges and people with obvious disabilities, to those with a silent type of disability like MS, or lung conditions that make walking up hills quite difficult,” he said.
“One particular gentleman said to me if it wasn’t for this service he would be looking for somewhere to sit down at least five times up the path to the ground.”
Good morning friends!Travellers Aid had a wonderful weekend of football at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)…
Originally an eight-week trial averaging about 250 patrons helped per AFL game, the service has been extended for the rest of the AFL season, to be reevaluated in October.
The initial pilot was funded with a City of Melbourne community grant matched by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), which administers the ground, and money from TAA.
Given its success and the AFL’s drive for inclusion, the MCC had stepped up to solely fund the service for the rest of this season.
TAA wants the MCG service to be ongoing, covering the cricket season as well perhaps.
The continuation of the service also hinged on potentially securing sponsorship, and working through a number of other issues.