Scooter the dog’s season ticket improves inclusion for Brighton Women

Scooter the dog’s season ticket improves inclusion for Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion Women made inclusion adorable by providing assistance dog Scooter with a bespoke season ticket. 

After attending the home opener at the team’s usual Broadfield Stadium venue, Kirstie Martin will watch their first match at the Level Playing Field Centre of Excellence Award-holding American Express Stadium with Scooter, her wife Michelle and friend Sylvia, when the team host Tottenham Hotspur

Scooter goes everywhere with Kirstie, who has Complex PTSD and General Anxiety Disorder. 

They have been watching Albion together for over a year and this summer the club’s supporter services manager, Millie Crowhurst, surprised them with Scooter’s season ticket. 

“Millie has gone over and above to make sure we have been given great accessibility,” said Kirstie. 

“She met us at the gates, showed us to our seats and made sure the stewards knew who we were and what we needed. 

“It was not long until we decided to get season tickets to watch our local team Brighton, in the WSL. 

“The security on the gates would often question Scooter’s access and I fed this issue back, so this season, without any prompting, we received Scooter’s  very own special doggy season ticket in the post. 

“Millie had clearly gone to a lot of trouble designing and making the card. It really made my day. 

“As a person who suffers with anxiety, the added worry on the way to games about whether or not we will be allowed in added to my stress levels and to those of my wife and friend we travelled with. 

“Millie recognised this and did something about it without asking. As a disabled person with a nonvisible disability, this means the world to me.”

Millie added: “Ahead of last season, I had a conversation with Kirstie to have a clear understanding of Scooter’s needs when performing his duties as an  assistance dog. 

“I therefore made sure that Scooter had his own seat, and no one was able to accidentally buy this when games were on sale. 

“It was important to Kirstie and us that Scooter was able to be comfortable for the duration of the game and have easy access to both his and Kirstie’s  seat. 

“This summer, I came up with the idea to get Scooter his own season ticket card. 

“Although he is there to provide assistance to Kirstie, he is there to support our Women’s First Team, and therefore I had to organise a season ticket card  for him. 

“I did not tell Kirstie and popped this into the post as a surprise. I was so pleased at how grateful they all were. 

“As a club, we want to ensure all attendees feel welcome and we will do what we can to accommodate anyone looking to support Brighton and Hove Albion  Football Club, whether that is at Crawley supporting the Women’s First Team,  or at The Amex.” 

Scooter the dog’s season ticket improves inclusion for Albion

Kirstie was first inspired to support Albion after going to watch England vs Norway at Euro 2022 and has been really pleased by the support offered by  the club. 

Another major final for the Lionesses this summer is expected to result in further growth for the women’s game, and more appetite from disabled fans to attend in person. 

During the closed season, Level Playing Field published results to a first-of its-kind survey on women’s football, which detailed the biggest barriers to  disabled fans attending. 

Level Playing Field’s fans liaison officer, Liam Bird, said: “It is fantastic to hear stories like this, where the attitude of clubs towards inclusion really makes a  difference to fans like Kirstie. 

“Last season we undertook important research on the accessibility of the women’s game and are keen to further our work with all stakeholders to  improve the experiences of disabled fans. 

“The continuous growth in the sport presents a huge opportunity to take standards on provisions for disabled fans with it, if access and inclusion are  prioritised.

“Staff like Millie at Brighton show the value that care, consideration and dialogue with disabled fans can bring. 

“We hope to hear about more great examples of inclusion, over the course of  what is set to be an important season in the growth of the WSL and women’s  game as a whole.” 

Following the publication of its survey results, Level Playing Field has been working closely with the FA on making targeted improvements in key areas.  The full report on the survey results is available to view on the charity’s  website, in addition to details on its Women’s Game Strategy

You can find out more about Scooter, including his surfing adventures on  children’s TV show Paw Patrol, on Kirstie’s blog

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