Podcast: Welcome to Wrexham

The Disability Download


Kerry Evans, the Disability Liaison Officer at Wrexham AFC, tells us why disabled supporters at Wrexham love the club and want more people to get involved. We find out about the superb work that Wrexham are doing with their Quiet Zone and continual access improvements.

Transcript

Kerry Evans: [Excerpt] I see it as not Kerry Evans. It’s giving Kerry Evans the opportunity to showcase what we do for accessibility at Wrexham football club. And that's what is so important to highlight: how much we do to welcome in fans with disabilities. And to get that opportunity, through Welcome to Wrexham, has been huge.

Beth Wilshaw: Hello and welcome to the Disability Download, brought to you by pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire. On this podcast we respond to current topics, share stories and open up conversations about disability.

Today we have a really exciting episode. My co-host Nick will be chatting to Welcome to Wrexham star, Kerry Evans. Kerry works at Wrexham AFC as their Disability Liaison Officer (DLO). Nick chats to Kerry about all things accessibility, filming Welcome to Wrexham… and, of course, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. We really hope you enjoy.

Nick Bishop: I’m delighted to be talking to Kerry Evans, Disability Liaison Officer at Wrexham AFC and one of the stars of Welcome to Wrexham. Kerry will be talking about accessibility in football, how Wrexham really is open to everyone and what their famous owners are really like. We all know the story of Wrexham and their remarkable rise from the National League – the fifth tier – back into League Two, one of the four professional leagues. As Kerry says, this is all about more than football – it's about improving things for fans.

I should explain a few things in the podcast – a few little phrases and acronyms we very occasionally mention in this episode. It’s just some quick tips to make things easier. Well done if you’ve watched Welcome to Wrexham really closely and you already know all these things!

DLO is Disability Liaison Officer – Kerry’s role at Wrexham AFC.

WST is Wrexham Supporters’ Trust – a fan-owned group that took over the club after some previously terrible owners. They eventually handed it over to Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, and that’s turning out very well for fans and players alike.

EFL is the English Football League. Welsh clubs like Wrexham, Swansea, Cardiff and Newport compete in the English Football League – a group of three leagues below the Premier League.

A CVI is a Certificate of Vision Impairment

A Changing Places toilet is an accessible toilet with a changing bed and a hoist. It’s also typically a much larger accessible toilet.

Nick Bishop: Kerry – welcome to the Disability Download. Thanks for joining us.

Kerry Evans: Thank you very much. Thank you for asking me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Nick: Thank you. So can you start by explaining a bit about your background and how you got into Wrexham AFC both as a fan and a volunteer, now employee. And a bit about your current role.

Kerry: Yeah. Going back to the very beginning…. I was born with cerebral palsy. At 30 I had a cerebral bleed on my brain, which actually made me a full-time wheelchair user. Up until the age 30, although had cerebral palsy, I'd been able to walk around. I used to walk with a limp and had a weakness down my right arm. So at 30 years of age, I had what they called a cerebral bleed. It affected all where had been previously affected from birth, and it stopped the whole of my right side working. So I've got no sensation or feel down the right side of my body and I became a full-time wheelchair user overnight.

My husband came out of work to be my full-time carer. And I, at the time, had been working full-time… and obviously had to finish work because my health had deteriorated. At that point, I didn't ever foresee myself going back into the big wide world of work. We were on the benefits system and we were coping as best as we could with the disability that I'd now got.

[I’ve] always been a big fan of Wrexham. My dad and my brother are big fans! I’d been in as a child with my dad to fixtures. My husband was very involved in the… in the football club. He used to do a podcast, actually, for Wrexham Football Club – official with the club. So I had dealings with the club through my husband. And we were a season ticket holder. I then got told that they were looking for a Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) at the club, all voluntary. And I made the decision – having been out of work and not been sort of working since the age of 30 – I made the decision that potentially I did have something to offer. And perhaps I could be a volunteer at Wrexham as a… as a DLO.

In that time, I felt it was very much going to be meeting and greeting fans on a match day. You know, being there as a support when people arrive. And how wrong I could have been because I ended up getting the role as a volunteer and it very, very quickly grew to a full-time job, even though I was a volunteer with the club. So that's… that's how I got into it. I had such a passion for what I was doing and being able to see that you're making a difference. The more you make a difference, the more it spurs you on to want to want to do more. So people at the time under the WST – that we were fan owned said – I grew the role to be as big as it was. But I worked a full-time job as a as a volunteer. And I absolutely loved it. You know. It made an incredible difference to people's lives and it enabled more disabled fans to be able to access Wrexham football club and attend fixtures.

Nick: You've mentioned before that it was important for you to realise that you could have a permanent job. And you could do even more than just volunteering work. Tell me a bit more about that.

Kerry: Well, the role was always – whilst we were fan owned – was always going to be a voluntary role. I worked for the club for five years as a volunteer. I drove that that role forward and it became a full time role… although I was a full time volunteer. It was only when obviously we got our new owners on board – Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney came on board.

At that point they approached me very early on and said: “w… would I be interested in joining the company full-time?” And obviously coming off state benefits. That was a huge, huge decision for me. Because although I was doing the job [and] I was working full time hours, I always felt that the state benefits were a little bit of a backup system to me. If I wasn't well, I knew that I was still getting my benefit money and I was doing the job I loved… without the sort of commitment of a full time job.

So I actually was asked in the October to become a full time member of staff and I didn't give them an answer until 1 March when they'd taken over. So decided to go for it, take on the role full-time and it's the best decision I've ever made.

Nick: That's brilliant. So as a fan, a football supporter, and someone so closely connected with Wrexham and the club, what was it like then when Rob and Ryan came on board?

Kerry: Unbelievable. I mean, I'd… I'd heard rumours through staff. You know, board members were talking to them - all unbeknown to fans. So I'd heard rumours. We very much thought, me and my husband: “no, this can't be true.” And then I got a phone call from Spencer Harris, who was a board member at the time for our fan-owned club.

And he said to me: “I've been asked, would you take phone call from either Ryan Reynolds or Rob McElhenney? Are you OK if I give your contact details?” And I was like: “Wow. This is real! This is happening!” And it was a few nights later and my phone started ringing and I was like: “Oh my goodness! I've got a call coming in from California!” And it was actually Rob McElhenney on the phone. He said that he had asked who was important to get on board if they were purchasing in the club. And he got in touch and said would I go on that journey with them? That was his words.

Nick: Fantastic.

Kerry: That was pretty special.

Nick: And it's been a… it's been a pretty amazing journey, hasn't it, so far?

Kerry: It certainly has. It certainly has. It's… it's a little bit [of a] pinch me moment. because you wonder where it's going to end. Obviously we got to meet Ryan and Rob, Obviously they bring so many celebrity faces with them to fixtures when they attend. We're meeting all sorts of people.

Nick: Yeah

Kerry: And then the most… the next most bizarre thing was getting a phone call from our CEO at the club, saying: “Oh. By the way, tomorrow morning – er – we've got the King coming to visit! And I'll be introducing him to you.” So you wonder who's next.

Nick: Yeah. Of course.

Kerry: You know. You're wondering who you're going to be dealing with and speaking to next!

Nick: Yeah! What's been the most memorable celebrity or famous person that you've met? And why… why would that be?

Kerry: Well, I'm. I am a royalist. Meeting the King and the Queen Consort was very, very special for me. I've got to be honest. Obviously, meeting Ryan and Rob themselves was fantastic to meet. In the first place, you're obviously: “wow!” These guys are you know, er,. huge! [It’s] sort of… people look up to them. Now they're just Ryan and Rob. They're just our bosses. And most times they come, I see them at the stadium. I always get a hug. It's become the norm now, really.

Nick: Absolutely. And what was it like taking part in Welcome to Wrexham? Because I think you come across really well in that. And also it's been brilliant telling the stories of some disabled fans as well. So. Yeah.

Kerry: Yeah. I see it as not Kerry Evans. It’s giving Kerry Evans the opportunity to showcase what we do for accessibility at Wrexham football club. And that's what is so important to highlight: how much we do to welcome in fans with disabilities. And to get that opportunity, through Welcome to Wrexham, has been huge. I was absolutely delighted with it. It showed our accessibility in a fabulous light. And you know, we're only ever doing more.

By Series 3 that's just been announced, I know there's lots more that we're going to be announcing that we're doing at Wrexham for accessibility. But having things like obviously this last series focusing on our Quiet Zone that we're very, very proud of. Erm. And having Millie that, you know, comes… [Millie Tipping, featured in Series 2 episode 2.] We have families that say without that area being in place, we simply couldn't come and watch Wrexham football club. So it really is that special that it's capturing and able to invite people in that… that couldn't attend without it being in place.

Nick: Sure. Can you tell us about all the different facilities you have at Wrexham, and how they benefit your disabled fans?

Kerry: Yes, certainly. I mean the list goes on and on, to be honest!

Nick: I'm sure it does, yeah.

Kerry: In the early days we started up wheelchair-accessible away travel. That wasn't something that was in place. This season we're offering 16 or 17 games that we’re taking wheelchair users to away games. That has huge impact because we have people who've never ever been able to travel to away games because they're a wheelchair user… and suddenly that opened up, you know, a huge world to them. And the fact that, like everybody else, they can attend.

We have powerchair football that we now run. And again… wheelchair users, myself included, would say: “I can't play football. I…. I sit in a wheelchair. Well. Yes, they can play football. And that's exactly what they do. We now have, you know, the powerchair football that runs on… on the evenings. Within the stadium on match days, the next biggest thing that we did was obviously our Quiet Zone. There's an awful lot of work gone into that. We have a double doorway entrance so that people don't have to go through the turnstiles because that actually can be a real problem to people. We have a quieter route to that area. We have accessible stewards that work the area every single matchday… familiar faces so everybody in the Quiet Zone gets used to the same stewards that are always on hand. We offer out ear defenders, blankets, ponchos. And we also offer a waitress service… because we recognise that if you're needing to use the Quiet Zone, then probably going to queue at a concourse bar with huge queues is going to be a big deal.

So we offer our waitress service that people can order in their seats and their orders are all delivered pitch side. We have an accessible toilet that is in just around the back of it that's in a very quiet location away from fans. And we have our sensory hub that serves a fantastic purpose, that it's there if somebody needs 5 minutes quiet time to calm down. You know, before they perhaps go back out and face the crowds again, watching a fixture. There is that area that they can make use of at any point during the afternoon visiting Wrexham. So there’s been a lot of work put into our Quiet Zone. It's very, very full. But every single person there respects each other. They're all there for very similar reasons. Umm. It's certainly very, very popular and has encouraged a lot of people into it. But we do all sorts of things, we do. We offer audio, descriptive commentary, service for fans. Gosh. So I'm trying to think. The list is endless of what we offer now, for so many different fans.

Nick: Yeah, and you must have seen quite a lot of change since you came on board.

Kerry: Yeah. Unbelievable. I mean, all these things have been put in place… I've been at the club now seven years and all these things have been put in place in the time that I've been there. We've got hearing loops in all our hospitality sections, we've got hearing loops and in the club shop. We run an audio version of the program – the match day program.

Now that has been done, from my side of things, from sort of an accessibility point of view. But obviously we've now got an awful lot of overseas supporters. They're not going to send for a matchday program, but they can… they can sign in and pay for and listen to an audio program. So, you know. There's so many different elements. And we're always trying to put something in place for, you know… If there's somebody comes here and says: “well, you know… this is the issue that I've got”, I will do my very best to put something in place so that they also can attend Wrexham football club.

Nick: Brilliant. It must help a lot that you've got the backing of Rob and Ryan with these kind of things.. What's the picture… for other clubs in the National League and EFL? Is there quite a long way to go for some of those clubs?

Kerry: We… yeah. We always got told in the National League we were leading the way. I've actually had an e-mail more recently from the EFL (English Football League) and they said that through accessibility at Wrexham and we're still very much leading the way in in League Two (the fourth tier) which is absolutely amazing to know. I've actually had a club in the Championship (the second tier) that has got in touch for advice on what we do at Wrexham as best practice and [said] could they… could they copy what we were doing? So it's what we're doing is being noticed and is having an impact as high as the Championship with clubs.

Nick: That's really good. In football in general, what do you think clubs need to do to make things better for disabled fans?

Kerry: I think… I think there's an awful long way to go. At Wrexham, we have an awful lot, you know. We have so much more we can do at Wrexham and will do over time. I think people get very sort of het up on the cost implications and some of these changes don't need huge amounts of cost. They just literally need somebody with the motivation to want to make a difference – to sort of, sit down and look at sort of how things can be changed.

Obviously you've got to understand, you know, our club has a very old, old stadium and some things have been more difficult to put in place. We've now got extra wheelchair viewing platforms but they've been more difficult to come about because of our stadium set up. So I totally realise that some clubs can say: “You know. Because of our setup and our age of our stadium, it's maybe not… not so easy. But I think, for everybody, there's ways around and I think, you know, there can be an awful lot more done.

Nick: Looking to the future… what improvements are you looking to put in?

Kerry: Yeah. There's always lists. There's always lists. You know. Something that that seems - perhaps just as an example – something that is very, very easy that we've been able to do and perhaps, only helps – I don't know – half a dozen people within the stadium, but still has an impact on those people. We've just made all our accessible toilets stoma friendly. You That's not helping the general public in their in their thousands, but that's helping that set of people who need that service in place. It helps those people.

So I very much say, even if this is going to impact on one person at Wrexham, it's still worth putting in place. Obviously we've got our Kop stand When that is built, the biggest thing that I've been pushing for – for a couple of years – will be we'll have the Changing Places toilet facility in that stand. Then automatically we'll have more seating for wheelchair users… and of course that will be built to a standard that… you know…. accessibility will be very much at the forefront of that stand being built. So there's lots of new things will come with that. But then over time, you know, we need a Changing Places toilet facility in one of our other older stands that we've now got. And, you know, that that will come in time. That will come.

Nick: Yeah, sure. And for anybody that doesn't know, can you just explain also the different options for wheelchair users at ground level and elevated level as well.

Kerry: Yeah. For our.. For our wheelchair users…. obviously being a wheelchair user myself, I'm very passionate about it. A couple of elements, really. I always felt that we need choice. You know. Anybody who's able-bodied who goes to Wrexham football club can not only choose which stand they want to sit in, they can choose where they want to sit – whether it's at a higher level, whether it's down at the front – and that's what I wanted to achieve at Wrexham.

So we now have the choice that wheelchair users can sit along the front row, pitch side and a lot of them choose that and absolutely love that facility. We have a viewing platform up at height in our Macron Stand, which is currently our newest stand although it's nearly 20 years old. And that enables wheelchair users and their companions to sit and look [and] have a view from height. Our most recent platform area is behind the goal. So we've got some people who absolutely love the atmosphere behind the goal. Our drummers behind the goal, the atmosphere, the singing, all the noises behind the goal. And it's now giving people the option that they can say: “oh. Well, I actually love sitting as a wheelchair user behind the goal. Umm. The Kop stand: we’ll put more seating in so people will have at height and at pitch level. So what I'm creating – that's taken time but is happening – it's giving wheelchair users a choice, like everybody else that attends Wrexham football club, on where their preference is to want to sit. And … where they’re happiest.

Also, all our seating is wheelchair user and one companion. And I raised with the club that, you know, that's always the case when I go places. If I go to the theatre, it's one companion. And sometimes I've got a daughter, you know, that might want to come or a family member that wants to come. So we've created an area behind the goal where we can not only accommodate one companion at the side of a wheelchair user: if you want to come with extra family members – grandchildren, parents, whatever – we can actually accommodate them behind the goal on that seating area as well, which again gives wheelchair users choice.

Nick: That's wonderful.

Kerry: Yeah. It's… it's something that I was very, very passionate about, obviously, because of the situation. And I want them to get the best, the very best matchday experience possible.

Nick: Thank you.. We have a question from one of our services in Wales. It says: do you make provision for military veterans in the ground, or do you provide tickets for games for veterans?

Kerry: Obviously our criteria for a free companion ticket is higher rate care or mobility [component] of DLA, PIP or Attendance Allowance. We do have also the CVI (Certificate of Vision Impairment), which is obviously people who are blind or partially sighted. And we also have an element on there that is for veterans that have a specific paperwork – that they would be eligible to a free companion.

We also have a scheme in place at Wrexham that Ryan and Rob themselves set up, which is called Racecourse Live. We invite organisations – ex veterans, people to do with the Army, Army cadets. Any sort of organisations like that where we'll offer them free tickets to come in and watch a fixture. It's been used for people who maybe can't afford matchday tickets – or have, you know, got whatever going on in their lives at the moment and they… they physically can't afford those tickets. So we have a number of tickets that are under our Racecourse Live banner. And they are used every single matchday so that we can invite people in to enjoy a fixture without even any cost.

Nick: That's amazing again. Really good. And so if a new fan, or somebody who hasn't been for ages to a football game, was wanting to come along to the Racecourse – and why wouldn't they if they can? – what would your advice be to someone who's completely new to it? What should they do? How should they get tickets?

Kerry: In the first instance, if they're somebody that's going to need support and a companion, I always advise people to e-mail myself: kerry.evans@wrexhamafc.co.uk. Explain what you need to know. What your situation is, what specific seating you would need to be able to attend. And I will then get in touch. I will discuss their individual needs. The fact that if they're eligible [for] the free companion ticket: how to claim that? And I can organise low level access seating, front row seating. I can organise all the wheelchair user spaces - all sell through myself.

Our Quiet Zone. So the one thing I say to everybody is if you contact me via e-mail, always put a phone number on… because sometimes it's easier to pick up the phone, chat and have a conversation about their needs rather than just emailing back. And I can actually organise their tickets over the phone via card payment. Some people see some people want to be independent and do it themselves online. Other people want the support, and the support is there if they want it… that I can actually arrange their ticket for them over the phone.

Nick: Superb. So one thing that comes across really well on Welcome to Wrexham is, the engagement from the players as well with disabled fans like Millie. And it seems like quite a lot of the squad have been have been very, very supportive with disabled fans. Can you tell me a bit more about that?

Kerry: They're an absolute great set of lads, our first teams this season. To be fair, I've always, always had them on board. But this… this team this year is exceptional to that. Obviously it's all being raised on Welcome to Wrexham. They're seeing it and they're seeing the importance of obviously my role at Wrexham. But I've always had huge support from the players. And I think they're realising. We actually had one player that said he'd actually had it highlighted to him before he actually signed for the club –how much was being done for accessibility. And that was one of the reasons he chose Wrexham.

Nick: Well. Who was that? Out of interest.

Kerry: I'm not going to say that. But yeah. When that's the impact that it's having on the players, I suppose they want to get involved and they want to be able to support that as much as they can.

Nick: Yeah. Paul Mullin himself has a son with autism.. Albi. And Paul Mullin being, of course, your star striker, as I'm sure anyone who watches Welcome to Wrexham will know. He was particularly good in episode 2, speaking to Millie. And he seemed to have a really good relationship with fans.

Kerry: Yeah. Yeah, definitely!. He's been absolutely fantastic in supporting for our Quiet Zone. And hopefully as… Albi at the moment doesn't have the interest to come and sit and watch a full game yet. But I'm hoping in time that he'll become a Quiet Zone member to come and watch his dad. In time.

Nick: Absolutely brilliant. And so what's been what's been kind of the best moment for you at Wrexham so far?

Kerry: To be honest: for me, the biggest highlight and the… the thing that I'm most proud of is obviously the day that I came off state benefits and started back into a full-time job at Wrexham. I was so proud that day. And, you know, Ryan and Rob have enabled me to do that. They've… they've changed my life in that in that sense. That's… that's massive. I will always be in their debt for that.

Nick: Yeah. So tell me a bit more about what they're like as people, then. They come across as genuinely really, really caring about the club and all the people involved in it. And they come across as quite funny and… yeah. Tell me a bit more about them because obviously that's just my impression.

Kerry: What you see is what you get. The people that they are being portrayed to you as a viewer is exactly who they are. They are the nicest two people you could ever wish to meet. They’re approachable. They’re… you know… you wouldn't think that they are the people that they are. Ryan Reynolds has got such.. such a… you know, huge reputation. And people say: “Wow. I can't believe you've met Ryan Reynolds.” He is the most down to earth, nicest guy you could ever wish to meet.

Everything that he says about how they want to make a difference, they want to change a community, is so true. That's why they're on board. Something was said to me quite recently and it's totally true. Welcome to Wrexham isn't… just isn't a footballing documentary. Welcome to Wrexham is a documentary that is about the community and Wrexham people that then shows how important a football team is within this town. (Now we're a city.) And that's very true. It's not a footballing documentary. It's not just about our team and our football. It's included the whole community in the town. And, and, I think, you know… That only shows how… where their hearts are and how much of a difference they want to make to our area.

Nick: I… I'd absolutely agree. And I've noticed that non-football fans that I've spoken to seemed to really enjoy seemed to have really enjoyed the documentary as well.

Kerry: I've had people who contact me for away tickets –access away tickets: say a wheelchair user who needs an away ticket – that last season said to me: “Oh. We've nicknamed our Thursdays ‘Wrexham Thursdays’”. Because they were… they were hooked on watching the documentary. And they're.. they're one of our rivals. I think it's captured everybody and everybody's watched [it], regardless of whether you're a Wrexham fan or not.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely. I know I have. I'm a big, big Bournemouth fan. And I can remember several… several games against you guys from years gone by. But yeah. Now I always follow the Wrexham results. And really hope you do well. And I see you won 6-0 at the weekend. And just… just after you've set up a call with the Disability Download. So I don't think we can take any credit for that, but… But yeah. I'm delighted to see the 6-0 win!

Kerry: Yeah, it was a good day on Saturday. I have to say.

Nick: I'm sure it was. Yeah.

Kerry: We're… we're very much on the up at the moment. It's… it's very exciting times. And to be honest, I think… I think this story has got a lot more to give yet. We’re going to be in the mix perhaps this season in League Two. I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to come. We now know that there's going to be a season three - series three, sorry – for Welcome to Wrexham. And I think it's just going to go on and on, and continue. So yeah. It's great.

Nick: Yeah. What are your hopes for this season in terms of in terms of Wrexham's aim as a club?

Kerry: Yeah. Well, I think… I think we're very much going to be in the mix this season. I think at the very least, we'll make playoffs for this season. Whether or not we go up, I have no idea. But I think we'll very much be there in the mix.

Nick: That's exciting. The playoffs are always, always super exciting. Although I know Wrexham, like Bournemouth, have had the heartache and the triumph of missing out and then getting promotion. So I hope this one…. I hope this one ends up with you getting it at the end of it. And I'm sure it will.

For anyone that doesn’t know, you can you just explain a bit about where Wrexham have come from? And where you might be hoping to get to?

Kerry: Yeah. We've been in the Football League, you know. Before my time. I don't remember the good times of old, but Wrexham have been there. Unfortunately we dropped down into the National League and that was now 15 years ago. The National League is not where clubs want to be. And most clubs aspire to come back from sort of National League status within a couple of years. Unfortunately, Wrexham sat there for a very, very long time: 15 years.

I think the biggest problem with that for us was becoming fan owned. It saved the club. I'm a huge, huge fan of the fan-owned set up and it saved our club. However, the minute we ever had a special player – somebody that would have the talent to be able to enable us to perhaps move out to the National League – they needed selling… because we didn't have funds and we needed to have funds to keep going as a club.

So now I look back on the situation, having worked for the fan-owned [setup] and now working for Ryan and Rob, I don't think we'd have ever got out of the National League until we had the… the sort of sprinkle of special from Ryan and Rob… and what they've brought to Wrexham. Because finally now getting back into League Two after a long, long time, I think… I think we will continue. I'm not saying particularly this year. But I think in the next couple of years we will, we will move up to League One. I can see us. I can see us get into Championship. I don't know how long that's going to take, but I can see us making it now.

We've done the jump out of out of National League. I think we will get to the Championship. How long that takes? Let's… let's wait and see. But, but yeah. A little bit of a way to go yet, but I er… I'm definitely aspiring to be there.

Nick: Brilliant. I certainly hope that comes true as soon as possible. And what advice do you have for all disabled football fans, regardless of where they are in the UK or abroad. For those who don't know if it will be possible for them to get involved with their local club? What would your advice be to… to that group of people?

Kerry: Yeah. I think… I think most clubs now, to my knowledge, are employing… or even in a voluntary capacity… now have the Disability Liaison Officer’s role in place. That person, in my eyes, it becomes a voice for fans with disabilities. That person is there to support, to help, to aid you. Getting to… you know. Getting to matches. Giving you the support that you need to get there. So whatever club you're from, I would advise your first port of call would be to find out who is your Disability Liaison Officer or Disability Access Officer… because they will have more specific information to get what you need from it.

In my mind, you know, I want all our fans at Wrexham to have the very best match day experience possible with no barriers That's what I aim for. And that's what I hope that, you know, we're getting towards. And I… The one thing I do say is if anybody ever feels there is a barrier put in their place to attend my club, Wrexham, please come to me. Because if I'm not aware of that problem I can't fix it. If there is a reason and you feel that there's something we could do to help, always get in touch because I will do my very best to…. to sort that out.

Nick: Absolutely. That's brilliant. And so… I think you've given a fabulous picture there for disabled football fans that will hopefully encourage even more people to come along to Wrexham. And how many disabled supporters do you currently have? And how much can that expand when you get the new stand?

Kerry: We've got on our… on our books at the moment, people –not just season ticket holders – people who come match by match. We've probably got near… near on… 500 fans with whatever disability registered within Wrexham football club. That can be hidden disabilities. A whole array of disabilities. But we've got 60 regular wheelchair users coming on a regular basis. Once we have the new stand, we're going to have double what we've already got in provision for wheelchair users. We're going to have more platforms. You know, I would hope that we will have far more in place to welcome in, you know, even more people. But yeah. At least up to 500 people currently that feel that they can attend Wrexham.

Nick: Yeah, brilliant. And best of luck to you and to Wrexham for the rest of the season.

Kerry: Thank you very much.

Nick: One question I can see that I forgot, finally was: What was the night like when you finally sealed promotion?. The match against Boreham Wood, I believe…

Kerry: It was pretty special. I was in floods of tears, which was shown on the Welcome to Wrexham, and overcome with emotion. And then we had a big staff party with all the first team players and their, their wives, partners and Ryan and Rob were at it. And, it was… it was a party of all parties, I have to say. It was a pretty special evening.

Nick: Yeah. Brilliant. Yeah, that's wonderful. And thoroughly deserved. Brilliant stuff. Thank you so much, Kerry.

Kerry: Brilliant.

Nick: Very best of luck for the season and a huge well done for what you do.

Kerry: Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure to meet you and I'll speak to you soon.

Beth Wilshaw: Some fantastic stuff mentioned in that episode. And we just want to say a huge, huge thank you to Kerry. We know she’s got a superb, busy schedule – especially with filming season 3. And it was just amazing to have her on the podcast to speak about accessibility, obviously Welcome to Wrexham… and, of course, Ryan and Rob!

So we’d love to know what you think about this episode. Get in touch by emailing us at disabilitydownload@leonardcheshire.org or contacting us on Twitter or Instagram, @LeonardCheshire. If there’s a guest you really, really want to hear: reach out to us and let us know. And don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to the podcast. Thanks for listening. I’m Beth and this has been The Disability Download.