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Level Playing Field – Old Trafford

Date: September 20, 2019

Level Playing Field

I met Aaron when he was 9 – a bright young man from Bolton with cerebral palsy. We were instructed by his parents 20 years ago to look after his settlement and we’ve had the pleasure of working closely with him and his family since then.

A big football fan, Aaron has joined us for a few games at Manchester United over the years and he came along with his mum, Mandy, last night for the game against Astana.

Aaron’s mobility has deteriorated in recent years and it was clear that the 21 steps up to our seats at Old Trafford just weren’t manageable.

I like to think I’m more aware than most of accessibility issues – my brother is in a wheelchair and many of Frenkel Topping’s clients have mobility needs – so I was angry with myself for not foreseeing any potential access problems.

Thankfully, the security and hospitality teams at Old Trafford responded in the most considerate and caring way. Acting with complete discretion and professionalism, Aaron and Mandy were shown into a box where Aaron could move in and out onto the balcony to watch the game from an incredible vantage point.

No fuss or fanfare, just exemplary service.

We’re all often quick to shout about our bad experiences. It’s only right to shout about the good ones too.

A meeting with Fred the Red and Norman Whiteside – two United legends – after the game meant Aaron’s experience ended on a high. Thank you to Manchester United for making it so.

I’m a proud United fan and it’s a pleasure to host our clients at games at Old Trafford. Last night I felt that more strongly than ever.

More importantly though, it reminded me of how easily mobility issues can be overlooked and how access, that most of us take for granted, can make or break a person’s experience.

We need to appreciate MUFC’s response but, more importantly, appreciate that our treatment at one of the biggest clubs in the world isn’t common and do our bit to make that kind of experience the norm. I know that’s no mean feat.

Thank you Aaron and Mandy for your understanding. See you next time.

@AnthonyPatten @SharonStanton @lpftweets

 

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