Accessible Wimbledon | Watching the Grand Slam
It's Tennis Season and Wimbledon is about to begin. Where Will You Watch the Grand Slam? How to Enjoy an Accessible Wimbledon
Strawberry growers throughout the land are packing punnets in a soft fruit frenzy. All the supermarkets are competing for the best deal on Pimms and punters are preparing to embark on a bizarre and complicated ritual of attempting to enter the Grounds of Wimbledon. How do disabled tennis fans get involved? Is there an Accessible Wimbledon?
The Luck Of The Draw
If you're lucky enough to be heading to Wimbledon this season, you're set to have a great time! The weather forecast looks perfect; sunshine and cloud. Not too hot and not wet either, what could be better? Even if it does rain, there's a new roof over the Centre Courts! If that sounds like a break from tradition, maybe you'll find consolation in the fact that Wimbledon is the only one of the Grand Slams to still be played on grass!
A Much Celebrated Tradition
The Championships, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. Since the first tournament in 1877, The Championships have been hosted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London. Wimbledon is one of the nation's favourite sporting events, a whopping 473,372 across 13 days attended the tournament in 2017 (total attendance in 2016 was 493,928 across 14 days). But how easy is it to get into the Grounds if you're in a wheelchair? We thought we'd look at how accessible Wimbledon is.
I planned to write this blog with reference to what you need to know as a disabled person visiting Wimbledon. However, it turns out to be a bewildering process just trying to find information on how to get into Wimbledon at all! It is a baffling system of queue tickets, overnight camping and entering ballots! Having never been to Wimbledon myself, all this was news to me and I found myself completely mystified! *Update* I have revisited the information for 2018 and can confirm, things are as puzzling as ever!
On the bright side, there does seem to be plenty of provision for disabled visitors once you're in. So, I will impart the knowledge I have garnered below and let you figure the rest out for yourselves!
Disabled Visitor Information Line
If you are a disabled visitor with mobility impairments and you intend to buy tickets on the day, you should telephone the Ticket Office (020 8971 2473) for further details on queueing and car parking arrangements. To be honest I could just leave it there because frankly you're better off speaking to someone directly who can answer your questions rather than attempting to decode the information on the website.
Getting Onto Centre Courts
If you're disabled and want to get onto the Centre Courts, you needed to apply to enter a ballot before 31st December 2016. So if you didn't, you're too late! This appears to be because of their limited spaces for wheelchair users. If you are not in a wheelchair, tickets for Centre Court and Court 3 are available by purchasing online the day before play via Ticketmaster on ticketmaster.co.uk
You can get the leaflet on how to enter the ballot from the entrance gate (presumably for next year.) I believe you can still enter the grounds via the Queue method but won't gain access to the Centre Courts. Don't count on that, just ring the number and ask them, I may have got it wrong!
Questions from the Queen!
While you're there you might be questioned by a representative of the Queen! Or at least of one of her charities. Each year Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (www.qef.org.uk
) conducts a survey to find out about the experiences of disabled visitors to the tournament.
There are several disabled toilet locations around the courts. They are part of the National Key Scheme so don't forget your RADAR Key! Haven't got one? Buy one here!
And why not get one with a stylish key ring?
Safty Precautions & Assistance Dogs
To meet local authority safety requirements and to ensure the effectiveness of any emergency evacuation, wheelchair users may ONLY occupy designated wheelchair areas and must remain in their wheelchairs. You may bring your assistance dog to the Grounds and Show Courts but they must do their business elsewhere! This information is taken from the accessibility page of the Wimbledon website where you may (or may not!) learn more: www.wimbledon.com
Small Screen Wimbledon Dreams, Watch Wimbledon Wherever you are!
Don't miss a moment of the Grand Slam, watch Wimbledon on your tablet with our versatile bean bag tablet stand!
If that all sounds too complicated and exhausting just thinking about it, maybe you'd be happier staying at home? Perhaps your most accessible Wimbledon would be from the comfort of your own surroundings. If you're not actually heading to the courts but you're a big tennis fan, you won't want to miss a match! And you don't need to... Watch Wimbledon wherever you are on your tablet or iPad with our Bean Bag Cushion Tablet Stand.
With our new range of bean-bag tablet cushions, you can watch Wimbledon all round the house anproprden! Simply prob your tablet up on our soft and versatile tablet cushion and watch the games as you go about your daily chores. Each tablet stand is made from high quality, durable fabric, generously filled with bean bag poly balls which gently mould around and securely support your device.
BBC iPlayer App
Now all you need to do is download the BBC iPlayer App
to your tablet and you can follow all the latest coverage of that most British of sporting traditions. Happy Accessible Wimbledon folks, however, you choose to view!