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Supporter liaison updates

Equality Focus Group minutes: 09/04/24

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The minutes from the May 2024 Equality Focus Group meeting are now available.

Attendees:

Club staff

  • Jim Frevola – President of Business (JF)
  • Hannah Powis – Head of EDI and Engagement (HP)
  • John Jennings – Disability and Engagement Officer (JJ)

Supporters

  • Chris Ashton-Hollis (CA) FAB Representative
  • Lesley Hathaway (LH)
  • Emma Young (EY)
  • Simon Shave (SS)
  • Nick Bishop (NB)
  • Nick Holmes (NH)
  • Heather Hoggatt (HH) Cherries Trust Representative
  • Ben Smith (BS) DSA Representative

 Apologies

  • Sarah Jelfs
  • Princess Beckford
  • Lousie Clarke
  • Ebi Sosseh
  • Matt Sturgeon
  • Rob Trent

Minutes:

FAB update

  • CA updated the group on the recent FAB meeting, updating the EFG on the points that were raised. He noted that the group will now meet every 6 weeks and will be focusing on strategy and key club projects.
  • A focus for the FAB will be looking at methods of communication and how they can help and assist fans to raise points of interest.
  • The FAB will be working with the club on the fan engagement report at the end of the season and will work with HP to have this finalised for its first year.
  • HP discussed a supporter engagement survey which will be sent to all members of the club’s supporter engagement structure which will provide qualitative and quantitative feedback for the fan engagement report.

Club projects

  • JJ Provided an update on the clubs Cherries, Together project which will launch on the 28th JJ will extend an invite to the EFG alongside other groups.
  • HP gave an update on recent work with Bournemouth University (BU) students who have now attended two sessions at the club focused on reviewing the clubs recruitment practices.

DSA update

  • BS gave an overview of the DSA’s work over the past few months noting their work with the club on lowered counters and cable extension for payment machines.
  • Moving forwards they will work with the club on solutions to minimise standing in Row A.
  • The group discussed accessible away travel, HP provided information on utilisation of accessible travel this season; 68% of games saw two accessible vehicles travel. Currently no changes planned to accessible travel for next season.
  • BS noted that the DSA are working with the club and CST to share information and promote the clubs disability programme.
  • The conversation moved onto elevated platforms with BS noting the club and the DSA have been working together to promote the elevated platform for games where there have been spaces.

EDI matchday themes

  • HP asked the room for their thoughts on the clubs approach to matchday themes this season.
  • Feedback from the group included; the videos played pre-match and half-time are too quiet, the group suggested having shorter, punchier videos to be played on matchday. The group also suggested an annual theme which is then linked into smaller themes throughout the season.
  • HP discussed Everyone, Together and condensing this into 2 or 3 stories per season that link into the wider theme. Group agreed this would be favourable.
  • The group suggested linking food and beverage options around the stadium with matchday themes, HP will take this away to discuss with wider team.

Matchday experience

  • HP asked the group for their feedback on the outer perimeter license;
  • The group were unanimous in their positive feedback for the trial, they mentioned it was felt this had helped to improve the matchday atmosphere and experience.

Supporter monitoring

  • HP discussed preliminary findings from this season supporter monitoring survey. She will share the full report at the next meeting but noted a couple of key findings.
  • The group discussed sexism being the highest increase in supporters hearing this type of discrimination on matchday. A discussion took place around how the club could focus on this, a suggestion was to focus next years annual theme on women. 

AOB

  • A question was sent in from the group asking the club to detail what provisions have been arranged for away coach parking. HP confirmed that there is contact between the home and travelling club every matchday and where necessary, the club will try to arrange drop-off/collection closer to the stadium for disabled supporters. She noted that whilst the club will always try to facilitate, this cannot be guaranteed as there are a number of external factors to consider such as road closure times.
  • HP updated the group on proposed changes to wheelchair user pricing, giving further detail and rationale on the proposal. BS gave detail of the clubs in depth consultation on the subject with both the Disabled Supporters Association (DSA) and Level Playing Field (LPF). Generally, the group were understanding of the proposal with feedback provided about consideration the club should pay to the experience of wheelchair users on row A. JF discussed that a large majority of venues have a different pricing category for lower rows and higher rows.
  • A concern was raised by members of the group relating to the disparity in experience between wheelchair users and ambulant disabled supporters. A suggestion from the group is for a periodical review of experience to be undertaken with the club and DSA to level the playing field in terms of matchday experience.
  • HP introduced a proposal the club is researching which would give supporters the opportunity to purchase season tickets directly onto platforms. This was well received by the group, HP discussed associated complexities and will update at next meeting.
  • HP discussed family seats on the platform, the club is looking into options for flexible seating for platforms which would give opportunities for wheelchair users to sit on the platform with more than one person. She will update the group at the next meeting.
  • HP provided an update on digital ticketing, noting that we have reviewed its introduction as we are likely to switch ticketing provider next season and didn’t want to have supporters learn two systems in two seasons.
  • NB raised a question about suggested capacity for stadium redevelopment/New Stadium, JF detailed extensive research and data led approach that will guide the clubs decision making.
  • HP thanked the group for their attendance and bought the meeting to a close.

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