Wembley Stadium has become the UK’s first dementia friendly national stadium.
Several new features have been put in place in and around the stadium following an audit by a group of people affected by dementia. They were invited to attend two matchdays and provide feedback.
Many find matchdays too disorientating and overwhelming due to large crowds and noise levels, plus the inability to communicate.
The changes include: bespoke training for public-facing staff such as matchday stewards, better information on ticketing receipts and improvements to the Wembley Stadium website to increase the visibility of current services available, such as its dedicated lifts and accessible shuttle service.
The new measures will improve accessibility and increase understanding and knowledge of dementia, setting the benchmark for other sports to follow.
Stadium director Liam Boylan said: “The changes we’ve made at Wembley are the first steps in ensuring that those who are affected by dementia are not excluded from the beautiful game and can continue to enjoy the sport they love, safe in the knowledge that their support and wellbeing is our top priority.
“Sport has an unrivalled ability to inform, educate and put a spotlight on important issues and we look forward to continue working closely with Alzheimer’s Society.”
As well as becoming the first national stadium to become dementia friendly, Wembley Stadium is supporting the launch of Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Sports Clubs and Venues guide
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive officer Kate Lee said: “We want to see all sports showing their commitment to giving fans with dementia a smooth journey from sofa to stands.
“We’re really pleased to see our landmark guidance be so well received by organisations across multiple sports.
“We hope it helps foster a more inclusive, accessible and welcoming environment for sports fans with dementia, so they can continue to be at the heart of the action.”
The Dementia Friendly Sports Clubs and Venues guide was created and funded by Alzheimer’s Society’s Sport United Against Dementia Board, with contributions from the Premier League and other sporting stakeholders.