Exeter City supporter gets elected to board of national charity

PUBLISHED: 15:43 04 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:43 04 June 2013

ECFC fan Nick Saunders

ECFC fan Nick Saunders

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Exeter City Football Club are delighted to announce that fan Nick Saunders has been elected to the board of national charity Level Playing Field (LPF) as an executive trustee, writes Richard Dorman.

The announcement was made at the charity’s AGM last month, which took place at the House of Lords.

Nick has been a Grecian for 27 years, joining the Supporters’ Trust a decade ago and he took on the voluntary role as the club’s Disability Liaison Officer. He also established the Exeter City Disabled Supporters’ Association (ECDSA) in 2007 – at the time, the only such organisation in the Conference. In 2011 he established the South West Disabled Fans’ Experience Forum with David Munn of Yeovil Town – and now the forum sees 10 clubs across the West Country work closely together.

And now Nick has been elected to the prestigious position amongst the LPF’s board of trustees, where he his positive influence and wealth of experience will undoubtedly be of great benefit to the charity, as it continues to be for Exeter City. In particular he is hoping to represent the grassroots and lower level of football, where facilities are often still rather rudimentary.

Nick said: “I think I’ll be bringing a great deal of experience to Level Playing Field and it’s a privilege to be able to fly the flag of Exeter City.

“Everyone talks about what the bigger clubs are able and are doing to improve their facilities for supporters with disabilities. However, it’s easier for these bigger clubs as they have greater amounts of funds available and some have newer stadiums that are easier to make changes too.

“The way I see it is that smaller clubs can get forgotten and left behind. This happens in many ways when new or updated disability guidelines are brought in, as it’s the smaller clubs that always struggle the most keeping up with the changes and finding the funds to make those changes.

“So my role isn’t just about what benefits that it will give to Exeter City, but how all small clubs can benefit from my input and insight.”

The ECDSA has, in particular, drawn acclaim recently from away supporters visiting St James Park on matchdays that have been impressed with the care and attention they received in Exeter. They have often held fundraising events to raise cash for specific projects, including Radar keys for disabled toilets, chairs for personal assistants, portable induction loop for fans with hearing problems, evacuation chairs and waterproofs for those in the uncovered areas.

LPF is the country’s leading charity for improving the matchday experience for disabled supporters in sporting environments. It was founded in 1998 as the National Association of Disabled Supporters and changed its named in 2011, and acts as a voice for disabled fans, raises disability awareness, and finds practical solutions to the challenges faced by disabled supporters and sports clubs.

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