Sport For All – How The Revolutionary Stair Climber Improves Accessibility At Sports Venues

The Stair Climber in use at Twickenham Stadium The Stair Climber in use at Twickenham Stadium

As the home nations continue to battle to secure a spot in the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup, eyes around the world are on France as it hosts the 2023 competition and thousands have already travelled to Paris, Lille, Marseille and other host stadia for the unforgettable experience that live sport delivers.

For fans with mobility issues and physical disabilities wanting to attend in person, it can be difficult to enjoy it to the full unless the venue is properly equipped to be accessible and inclusive.

Paralympic athlete and campaigner Anne Wafula Strike made headlines this summer for highlighting the lack of accessible toilet facilities at UK sporting venues.

Suffolk-based The Stair Climbing Company is also striving to increase accessibility for all at sporting venues through provision of the innovative Stair Climber. The machine allows those in wheelchairs to be comfortably transported up and down stairs, without the need for any mechanical or electrical installation.

The device is a battery-powered, fully mobile piece of equipment that climbs up or down stairs. It comes with a seat or as a wheelchair carrier and is easily portable making it ideal for use across venues to assist guests with mobility issues of various kinds.

Current clients include Twickenham Stadium, the home of England rugby and the second largest stadium in the UK with a seating capacity of 82,500. It now has nine branded Stair Climbers available for use, an addition that has been warmly welcomed by wheelchair visitors as well as the RFU Injured Players Foundation.

Stair Climbers first caught the eye of representatives from the Rugby Football Union at a trade show at the NEC. After a full access audit and report of recommendations, the Stair Climbing Company supplied the initial machines and delivered training in their use.

England Rugby’s HSE manager Richard Battley says that the machines have “certainly been a worthwhile investment” for the organisation, offering greater accessibility and improving the overall customer experience as well as enhancing safety procedures around emergency evacuations.

“Whilst the design of the stadium brings its challenges, in particular the Level 2 bars which had limited access via external stairs, we believe the recent procurement of the Stair Climber has provided sufficient and reasonable adjustments enabling wheelchair users quick and safe access.”

For Arena Group, who are responsible for events including The Open and British Masters as well as venues such as Cheltenham Racecourse and Coventry Building Society Arena, the Stair Climber enabled them to offer an alternative to the installation of a lift which was “very well received” by clients.

The Stair Climbing Company’s MD Emma Persey says “Most sporting venues rely on tiered seating to give spectators the best view of the action, so of course there are going to be stairs to navigate. Within legacy buildings, and temporary stands, it isn’t always feasible to install a lift so that’s where our Stair Climber comes into its own, improving accessibility for all.”

The company, which also provides Stair Climbers to care homes, hotels, hospitals, visitor attractions and individual homes offers machines for hire as well as purchase, ideal for time-limited events and temporary venues. Orders can often be fulfilled in as little as 24 hours, with full training given on delivery. As well as being less intrusive and disruptive than the installation of a lift, it is also significantly more cost effective.

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Image Credit: The Stair Climbing Company.

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Sport For All – How The Revolutionary Stair Climber Improves Accessibility At Sports Venues