Inclusive Blues Statement – Viewing Platform

The Inclusive Blues wish to issue the following statement with regards to the proposed installation of a viewing platform for wheelchair users at the Swansway Chester Stadium.

Firstly, we wish to thank everyone at the club for their continued efforts and all those who have contributed to the fund towards a viewing platform. The concern displayed by fellow fans for the welfare of their fellow supporters who use wheelchairs is humbling and hugely appreciated. It makes us proud to be part of this great club.

We are also very much aware of the work that went into the proposal to install a viewing platform in the West Stand which is the latest of a series of proposals that included shelters over the existing bays in the East Stand. With regret, the Inclusive Blues do not feel any of the ideas put forwards completely met our needs.

The thing is, it is almost certain that we are only going to have one shot at establishing a viewing platform and then it will be our only option of watching from a sheltered location for a number of years so we want it to be the best possible solution. Many of us wish to remain at the heart of the action which we feel is in the East Stand.

We also have other issues in addition to a covered viewing area, particularly with regards to facilities in the East Stand. We do not have access to the Legends Lounge or Board Room therefore Chester FC is not a fully inclusive operation. As a football club with a strong community ethos, we feel it should be.

We are therefore continuing to press for a platform located at the back of the East Stand which also gives access to the second floor of the office and hospitality block.

Preliminary estimates indicate that such an installation would cost in the region of a quarter of a million pounds. This is a substantial sum of money for our club and, if available, could be used to transform Chester FC rather than helping a small number of disabled supporters (although we hope better facilities would increase our ranks).

We want to emphasise in the strongest possible terms that we couldn’t agree more! First and foremost, we are supporters of this football club and we want success on the pitch just as much as everyone else. The last thing we would wish is for sums to be spent on us to the detriment of our squad of players.

We have requested that the board obtain a fully costed plan for a development in the East Stand. This would enable us to approach charities and trusts with a view to raising community-style funding from external sources. We understand this often takes the form of a matched grant where one organisation contributes 50% of the total while another provides the remainder.

We do not wish to consider any other proposal until this avenue has been fully explored. We hope this clarifies the situation and we will continue to receive the marvellous support from our fellow fans.

Dave Williams
on behalf of the Inclusive Blues