Notts County have named head groundsman Trevor Hutchinson their 'Game Changer' as part of the 2017 Level Playing Field Weeks of Action campaign.The annual initiative, now in its 12th year, aims to celebrate access and inclusion for disabled sports fans across England and Wales.
This year LPF are celebrating the ‘Game Changers’ that make a big difference to the matchday experience of disabled fans, shining a light on those who lead and pioneer change that improves access and inclusion.
This summer, Notts' Game Changer Trevor, whose daughter is severely autistic, was determined to help people like Tyler enjoy football in a comfortable environment. He suggested converting four disused Meadow Lane executive boxes into a sensory suite.
Since its implementation the suite, comprising three sensory rooms and a parents' room, has been a huge success.
Trevor said: "When you mention a disabled person, for many it's natural to assume that person is in a wheelchair or even housebound.
"But with autism and the other complex learning difficulties our sensory rooms cater for, the users are usually ambulant and their needs are completely different.
"The environment of a football stadium on a matchday is a big issue for some people. Our sensory suite proves you can offer people a quiet, safe and relaxing environment to watch football.
"In the past that was always a big problem for my daughter Tyler and it was an incredibly emotional day for our family to see her attend the grand opening of the suite before enjoying a match."
Trevor is extremely grateful to everyone who has helped convert the idea from a dream into reality.
He said: "At the beginning the rooms were just four shells. There was nothing in there - they didn't even have ceilings or lighting. All the groundstaff worked tirelessly to turn the area into something we could use.
"The likes of Bev Markland and Mark Huckerby have added so much to this project, as well as everyone at Autism East Midlands and the volunteers who run the suite on a matchday.
"I can't thank everyone enough for supporting this project and to be selected as the club's Game Changer is a massive honour."
Trevor will be part of a pitchside presentation ahead of Sunday's Sky Bet League Two match against Barnet.
As part of the Weeks of Action, Notts are encouraging supporters to back Rosehill School's campaign to purchase communication programmes and sensory equipment for autistic students. Click here to visit their JustGiving page.
Disabled people constitute the largest minority group at around 15% of the population and this number is increasing year on year. Naturally, a large number of disabled people are football fans too and Notts would like to take this opportunity to thank their own disabled fans for their continued loyalty and dedication to the Magpies.
For more information about LPF and this year’s Weeks of Action, please click here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 621 2403.
Alternatively you may wish to send a tweet of support to @lpftweets using the hashtag #GameChangers.