Blind Gloucester Rugby fan who wants to go to his first game at Kingsholm frustrated over headset delays

Harvey Dyer, 22, from Kingsholm, lost his sight as a teenager. He has learned how to adapt and is determined to enjoy his life
-Credit: (Image: Mark Hatherway)

A Gloucester man who is blind has criticised Gloucester Rugby for not actually being inclusive of all those with disabilities. He had been waiting for two months trying to get an answer from the club to try and get access to an headset to he could listen to the commentary while at a game in Kingsholm stadium, however he has been told he will have to wait until next season.

Harvey Dyer, 23, from Kingsholm, lost his sight as a teenager as he has optical neuropathy. He has since learned how to adapt, and despite everything, he is determined to enjoy his life.

Harvey said: "I had been trying to get in touch with Gloucester Rugby to see if they had headsets so I could listen to the commentary of the game while I was there. I lost my sight when I was a teenager, yet I would still like to go to a game with a friend and enjoy the atmosphere even if I can not see.

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"Even though I had been trying to get hold of Gloucester Rugby for about a month before to see if they had the headsets, it was two weeks before the game I was then told they did not have them.

"I was emailing the club and calling them once a week, and one minute I was told they had the headsets and the next minute I was told they were not working. All I hoped to do was going to the match with my friend.

"It may not seem a lot to some, however having a headset with the commentary of the game helps us to know everything happening on the pitch. I was also told when they do have them, I would have to buy it from the Gloucester Rugby shop."

Harvey feels more should have been done to help support him so he could go to a Gloucester Rugby game. He is also disappointed with how long it had taken the club to get back to him to say the headset situation would not be resolved this season.

He said: "I have never been to a rugby game and I hear the atmosphere from my home and I really would have liked to have gone to a match. I feel if there were headsets available we should not have to pay the £10 so we can listen to the commentary.

"I know Gloucester Rugby have done a lot to be inclusive for those who have disabilities. They may have accessibility for wheelchair users, however it is not not the only disability to cater for."

Gloucester Rugby say they are aware of the problems with the headsets and 'understand the importance of providing a seamless experience for all fans'.

A Gloucester Rugby spokesperson said: "Accessibility and inclusivity are paramount values for Gloucester Rugby and we regret that Mr. Dyer did not receive the support necessary to enjoy the game at Kingsholm.

"Regarding the headset system, we are aware of the technical difficulties, and we resolved this as quickly as we were able to once we had been made aware. We understand the importance of providing a seamless experience for all fans, including those who are visually impaired, and we are committed to ensuring that necessary accommodations are in place.

"We are committed to improving our support for fans with diverse needs. This season we launched an accessibility task force, responsible for our accessibility action plan. We introduced sensory packs and a sensory safe space for supporters with sensory needs, a review of our accessible drop-off/collections area, training of our staff and we are actively communicating with underrepresented groups to plan what more we can do."

"At Gloucester Rugby we strive to be an inclusive venue that welcomes everyone. We deeply value the feedback from Mr. Dyer and others in our community, and we are dedicated to learning from these experiences to improve our services and support."