EDSA'S guide to forming a Disabled Supporters Association


The following ideas on how to set up a disabled supporters association are in no way meant to be the definitive guide. However I hope it might pre-empt many of the problems you may encounter along the way to forming your own association.

Sound out disabled supporters, no matter how many or few, with regard to setting up a disabled supporters association.

Convene a meeting as soon as possible - it is quite important to maintain the initial impetus and harness the enthusiasm. Ask your club or main supporters club if you can use their facilities for this first meeting (if suitable) just a suggestion.

At your meeting elect a steering committee. This committee, which can be from three members upwards, is, as the title suggests, there to steer your newly formed association from its formative stage through until such time as you feel that you have established yourselves, at which time you can elect your first permanent committee.

When this is done seek a meeting with your Football Club, as soon as possible. At this meeting make sure that you have an agenda prepared. This should reflect the aspirations of your membership.

At the meeting you should discuss how your football club and the New Disabled Association see the role of the disabled supporter and how they envisage things in the immediate, and long term, future.

Ask the club if they can offer space in any club publications to allow the newly formed association to contact, and inform, as many supporters as possible, that you are in existence and how they get in touch with you.

Keep local press and media informed of developments and, when applicable, make sure your football club and your newly formed disabled association is praised for any positive steps they make together - you will find that more people will be willing to join your cause if they see the harmony of the two working.

Whilst the disabled association is actively seeking to become affiliated to your football club ensure that you maintain your autonomy and thereby avoid being swallowed up by the club.

Once your committee is formed don't hesitate to contact other similar associations for the exchange of ideas and news. The more associations that are formed and that correspond with each other the louder our voice will become and, hopefully, in the very near future, the disabled supporter will cease to be a "second class soccer citizen".

Try to arrange social events, open them to everybody, and as well as fund raising events, it may become friend finding.

I hope the brief outline given above will be of some benefit to you but please don't hesitate to get in touch if you require any further help.

Our success is down to a wealth of experience as disabled supporters, and a persistence to be accepted.

We also pride ourselves on good planning and good research. This is of course coupled with a little bit of hard work, but if we can do it so can you.

Here's wishing you every success in forming your Disabled Supporters Association and we at EDSA will look forward to working with you in the very near future.

Steve Heneghan. (Chairman of EDSA)

 

 
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