On the Monday the 22nd April Hull FC played St Helens at their Totally Wicked Stadium.
I once again travelled on coach with Airlie Bird Travel on an Acklam’s coach. Richard the driver picked me up at the top of my street and have scooter will travel was off on its journey’s again.
A pit stop was arranged for Hartshead Moor on the way down as we pick one of my friends up from the next junction along, I know Huddersfield but he’s 72 and has followed Hull FC home and away for well over 50 years, that’s some dedication that is. He is known on the coach as the “layby man” as that’s where he gets picked up.
I digress, I have to say at this point that even though this is an assessment on the Totally Wicked Stadium, Motorway Services are going to be next on my agenda, as there is no drop kerb where the coaches park on the Westbound carriageway at Hartshead Moor Services. But like I say that’s for another post.
On arrival at the stadium we were directed to the coach parking, which is alongside the main carpark, the surface is flat tarmac once you have negotiated the scooter out of the coach locker, thanks Richard again.
Our tickets where for the North Stand with the away fans and I asked a steward where I could take my scooter, only to be informed I could take it into the North Stand, but it was only standing for anyone else who was with me.
This was not suitable as I had Mum with me, who ironically, I have been her carer for several years, now the tables are reversed but she needs to sit down as she can’t stand for long.
The stewards let us through a door marked wheelchair access and when we got on the concourse I spoke to another steward who informed me I couldn’t take the scooter into the stand, I had to sit in a seat.
Eventually after discussions with various stewards, one of which insisted we needed to be in the North Stand, a very helpful steward suggested he take us to our seats and take the scooter and store it somewhere safe for me and bring it back to me before the end of the game.
Before being taken to my seat I decided to use the disabled toilet, which he took me too, the toilet wasn’t locked on a radar key but did open outwards and thankfully the steward was there to hold the door open for me.
As we got to the seats I managed to get a friend to help me up and back down again at the end of the game.
The steward had returned my scooter for me and Mum and I made our way back to the coach, via the disabled toilets, which I had to queue for and once in, had to ask someone outside to hold the door open for me.
In summary for accessibility I will give the Totally Wicked Stadium 7 as once I asked the stewards where very helpful, however as an away fan who would have normally be in the North Stand it would have been fine for me in my scooter as I could have stayed on it in the North Stand, but my carer would have been unable to sit down.
The West stand was ok if you can get off and climb stairs to the seating area, when I asked if there was a disabled platform in the stand I was informed it wasn’t for scooters only wheelchairs, what then would have happened if I had been in electric wheelchair I am unsure.
This stadium was opened just after the Equality Act 2010 therefore I would therefore expect a higher level of accessibility than was available.
This stadium has a capacity of 18000 and building regulations state where reasonable there should be 1% of stadium capacity for wheelchair users.
I can’t help but compare this stadium to the A J Bell as it was in build at the same time and has excellent disabled access.