Littleport woman commends Newmarket Racecourse management team for improving disabled access after ‘awful’ experience at Little Mix concert

Maria Stableford at Newmarket Racecourse on Saturday, the disabled viewing platform with improved si

Maria Stableford at Newmarket Racecourse on Saturday, the disabled viewing platform with improved signage and the priority serving area. - Credit: Archant

A Littleport woman has commended the management team at Newmarket Racecourse for implementing improvements to disabled access and facilities following her horrific experience at a Little Mix concert there.

Following the “awful” time that Maria Stableford experienced as a disabled patron to the July Course in June, she returned to see pop singer Jess Glynne on Saturday.

“I had a highly enjoyable experience,” she said.

“It was made more so as I was able to see first hand the fabulous changes on site which were made by the course, to benefit disabled visitors.”

Soon after the Little Mix concert – which left Maria crying and shocked after being shoved and shouted at – she approached the racecourse management.

After complaining about her treatment at the concert, Maria explained that she “wished to work with them so that no other disabled person would have to go through what I had experienced.

“I wanted to make changes for the better and to benefit both the course and future disabled visitors.

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“The course did have a disabled course plan and disabled toilets but improvements needed to be made. So I met with the course operations manager Gemma Steve and we went through the plan and discussed everything relating to the disabled at the course in length.

“The management were enthusiastic and very open to my experience and changes which I requested.”

After returning on Saturday Maria said her suggestions – including making adjustments to the original disability plan, providing training for staff to improve their understanding of disability and creating an info map leaflet regarding disabled access - were accepted, visible and fully implemented.

She also said there was larger disabled signage around the course helping people to quickly identify key disabled areas, a lowered ‘disabled priority ordering’ counter at various beverage locations, with clear large signage and improved raised disabled platforms which are now pre-bookable.

“During the day many staff members approached me on my scooter and asked if I was happy and if I knew where I was going,” Maria added.

“This also made my exit after the concert easier as staff in several places held back others so my scooter could travel through.

“I now truly believe that Newmarket Racecourse do value all patrons, including the disabled visitor and are striving to get it right.”