Disabled Supporters' Club Members Enjoy Virtual Mascot Experience

A group of 20 supporters from the Everton Disabled Supporters' Association (EDSA) were the Blues’ virtual mascots for Monday’s game against Southampton, as Everton reaffirmed its commitment to access and inclusion for all fans by supporting Level Playing Field’s #WeeksofAction.

The game against Southampton was Everton’s official Level Playing Field fixture and was the first time a group of supporters were invited to be virtual mascots, rather than an individual. 

Ahead of kick-off, EDSA members joined a Zoom call with Mason Holgate. After a few words with the defender, the fans then experienced the matchday build-up via Holgate’s tablet as he stepped out onto the famous Goodison turf.

The match also saw the Club pay tribute to 11-year-old Alfie Humphreys, who tragically passed away 10 days ago.

The Club displayed a tribute to Alfie, a dedicated Evertonian, on the big screen at Goodison Park on 11 minutes, with supporters watching from home encouraged to join in with a minute's applause to celebrate Alfie's life.

The Level Playing Field campaign is now in its 17th season and its annual #WeeksOfAction initiative (Saturday 27 February-Sunday 14 March) looks to shine a light on the positive work being done by clubs, Disabled Supporters’ Associations, fans and other organisations towards access and inclusion

Everton ace Alex Iwobi surprised stars from Everton in the Community’s Disability Programme by joining them on a special Zoom call last week, which you can watch below or here!

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Forward helps us kick off Level Playing Field celebrations.

EDSA were Everton’s Supporters' Club of the match for the Southampton game and appeared in the Club’s Everton Live matchday show, across LEDs at Goodison Park, and took in a pre-match Zoom call with Everton Ambassador Graham Stuart. The EDSA flag was displayed in the stadium, and the Level Playing Field logo appeared on matchday screens.  

Throughout Level Playing Field's annual #WeeksofAction campaign, the Club will share videos and articles featuring some of Everton’s disabled fans and highlighting Everton’s commitment to inclusivity and access. 

The Everton Disabled Supporters' Association (EDSA) formed in 1994, works alongside the Club to improve the facilities for disabled fans at Goodison Park - ensuring they have a positive matchday experience by providing constant feedback to the Club.

EDSA has also played a vital role in advising the Club on accessibility in the plans for Everton’s proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock – plans which were approved last week by Liverpool City Council. Working alongside the Club, EDSA have helped to ensure the Club’s proposals make the new stadium the most inclusive in the Premier League with the most wheelchair spaces in the country, at least one changing places facility in every stand and a sensory room. 

The key objective of Level Playing Field's #WeeksOfAction is to raise awareness of good access and inclusion and how it benefits disabled fans and the wider community.

With the suspension of supporters in stadia earlier this season, this year's #WeeksOfAction theme focuses on 'the importance of live sport' on supporters’ wellbeing and what clubs are doing to support those who are shielding and isolated. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, Everton has reaffirmed its commitment to its disabled supporters. As part of the Club’s Blue Family Campaign, staff across Everton in the Community and the Club have been making welfare calls to fans, in particular those who are disabled or who may need support during the pandemic. Everton in the Community has delivered virtual sessions for its Disability Programme participants, and the Club has also helped fans stay in touch with Everton and each other with virtual events including Fan Fridays.  

In December 2018, Everton launched All Together Now, its campaign to celebrate diversity and increase awareness of everything done by the Club and Everton in the Community to promote equality.

Since the launch, All Together Now branding and the tagline 'a football family for everyone' has been used across LED perimeter boards, the Jumbotron screens and in concourses at Goodison Park on matchdays, while a number of initiatives and schemes to encourage inclusion and celebrate equality and diversity have been introduced or developed.