Extra provision for partially sighted fans.
More fans than ever will have the chance to access the thrills and spills of a Colchester United matchday, thanks to a partnership between the U’s Supporters Association and Hospital Radio Colchester.
Since moving to the new Weston Homes Community Stadium, the U’s have made concerted efforts to make the stadium accessible to all, with its wheelchair facilities coming in for wholesome praise over the last four years.
Over the last year or so, the club have been working hard to improve provision for fans with partial or no sight, teaming up with Hospital Radio Colchester, who have very kindly made their commentary available to the U's for this purpose.
Such has been the popularity of the service that the U’s needed more wireless headsets to allow fans around the stadium to tune into the Hospital Radio commentary and the club's Supporters Association have stepped in to finance two additional pairs of headphones for fans to use.
"The Hospital Radio Commentary has been very well received by supporters who have been able to use it in the last year," U’s Media Manager Matt Hudson said.
"It has been a real success and we were keen to extend its availability as a result. We are very grateful for their contribution and that of our Supporters Association."
Hospital Radio Colchester has been providing special radio programmes to patients in Colchester and surrounding areas since December 1963 when HRC was officially launched.
In fact it was during the early months of 1953 that programmes were first broadcast to hospitals in the Colchester area. These took the form of commentaries of home football matches from the Layer Road football ground of Colchester United thanks to Colchester United Football Supporters Club.
These commentaries were broadcast to two hospitals in Colchester and across to Black Notley. During half time and after the game, comments were given on the match and the style of football played.
"It is a credit to Colchester United that once again Hospital Radio Colchester and the Colchester United Supporters Association have been brought together and this time it is to assist more Colchester United visually impaired fans and their families," Ronnie Smyth, Football Commentary Team Leader of Hospital Radio Colchester added.
"The two extra wireless headsets for use at the club mean that more visually impaired Colchester United fans can enjoy their experience and time at the club.
"The Hospital Radio Colchester Football Commentary team are thrilled to be able to reach more fans and would like to thank the CUSA and Colchester United for giving them the opportunity to do so."
The Weston Homes Community Stadium has proven popular with fans of all ages and so the opportunity to provide a more wide ranging provision for partially sighted and blind fans opens it up still further. And the CUSA were delighted to help.
Jon Burns, chairman of the Colchester United Supporters Association, said: "On behalf of our members we are pleased to help U's fans in any way that we can to improve their matchday experience.
"All supporters of Colchester United are crucial to its' success and we hope that our donation will help the beginning of better times for all parties."