Woody Welcomes AFC Bournemouth
Updated: Jan 14
We are still absolutely buzzing from the win against Liverpool! The atmosphere inside the Gtech after the match was phenomenal. Woody and I sung along loud and proud with the rest of the fans, showing our total appreciation as our Bees went to seventh in the league! When Thomas came over for the post match fist bump Woody got so carried away he gave Thomas his lucky golden jacket! We are sure Thomas is taking great care of it and the luck is rubbing off.
What a season this is turning out to be. There is a lot to be proud of as we head into this weekend's game against Bournemouth. When we travelled to the south coasts, Vitality Stadium, back in October, we had to settle for a nil, nil draw and so Woody and I are hoping to see some goals this weekend – for the Bees, not the Cherries.
Bournemouth are a club very much immersed in their community, providing lots of opportunities for those with disabilities as well as raising the profile of campaigns such as Black Lives Matter. Back in November the club’s Community Sports Trust teamed up with the BOLD group and law firm, J.P. Morgan, to host a Premier League Kicks session with young people to raise awareness of Black History Month, talk about discrimination and discuss how they can influence change within the community.
Woody and I are so impressed with all the activities the Community Sports Trust provide. The Trust was established in 2001 and is the charitable arm of AFC Bournemouth, working within the community to encourage diversity and inclusion as well as health and wellbeing. As recently as December the dedicated team were busy spreading Christmas joy to those in need. On Christmas Eve, they delivered Christmas hampers (donated by the players) to families. The hampers included enough for a Christmas dinner as well as some treats.
Not only that but the Community Sports Trust hosted an Active Sports Camp in the week before Christmas for young people. The Camp included games such as football and dodgeball, as well as educational pieces around healthy living and No Room for Racism.
Looking back to the summer the Community Sports Trust organised dedicated sessions for those with physical or learning disabilities. The tailored SEND sessions ran throughout August and were free of charge.
And if you go back a few years you can see the Trust established the AFC Bournemouth Powerchair team. The team formed ahead of the 2018 / 2019 season after merging with the local Wessex Warriors FC. At the end of that first season the team attended an awards ceremony at the Vitality Stadium and picked up gongs in categories such as ‘Players Player’, ‘Player of the Season’ and the ‘Harry Evans Improvement Award’. This is a ceremony that continues to this day, celebrating the achievements of the team and those who are committed to its success. Woody and I were delighted to learn that the AFC Bournemouth Warriors powerchair players secured promotion at the end of last season into the Premier League after absolutely bossing the fixture list and winning all five of their games. Well Done, Warriors.
AFC Bournemouth have a comprehensive guide relating to how those with disabilities can access the match day experience. There are accessible viewing areas for those in wheelchairs in both the home and away ends. Those that are exposed to the elements can expect ponchos and blankets to be available.
The Cherries also host a Sensory Hour at their Superstore once a month to allow those who require a calmer environment to access the store in a comfortable and quieter way.
For those with a visual impairment, complimentary headphones are available so they can listen to the match day commentary as well as the programme being available in accessible formats.
Finally, the Cherries offer a sensory experience for those with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorders. These fans can expect noise cancelling headphones, a map of the stadium and a club branded soft football in order to allow them to access the match comfortably. So we are really looking forward to Saturdays tea time match… Both the Bees and the Cherries wear red on their shirt... The Bees team it with white and the Cherries with black... Woody and I are hoping that those players adorning the red and white stripes will take the points, that would Bee the Cherry on the cake...