23 August 2018
Disability equality will be front and centre of Southampton FC’s match against Leicester City on Saturday (August 25) as the Saints will wear a unique kit featuring the disability charity, Scope.
Virgin Media, for one game only, is handing over its shirt sponsorship of the club to Scope to raise awareness of the charity’s ‘Disability Gamechanger’ campaign to help highlight and address the issues disabled people face across the UK.
Southampton’s players will also don special Scope warm-up tops and St Mary’s stadium will feature the charity’s logo on its LED screens throughout the game. Prior to kick off, a giant version of the shirt will also be carried out on to the pitch.
It’s the second time Virgin Media, Scope and the Saints have united to support disabled people, with the players wearing a strip emblazoned with the charity’s logo in May 2017 against Manchester United.
Virgin Media has partnered with Scope since 2015 and together they are working to transform the lives of disabled people. In September 2017, they set an ambitious goal to support a million disabled people to get in and stay in work by the end of 2020. They have since launched ‘Work With Me’ - a call to action for businesses to come together to create more inclusive workplaces for disabled people.
This shirt swap comes as Scope publishes startling research today revealing disabled people in the UK feel undervalued and disconnected from society.
The findings show that half of disabled adults feel excluded from society because of their impairment or condition, two in five do not feel valued by society and less than half (42%) think the UK is a good place for disabled people.
Scope is calling on everyone – businesses, politicians and the public – to become Disability Gamechangers and share what they are doing to create equality for disabled people.
Jeff Dodds, Managing Director of Consumer at Virgin Media, said:
“We’re proudly standing united with Scope and Southampton FC to support disabled people by putting disability equality at the heart of this weekend’s game at St Mary’s.
“It’s time disabled people had the same opportunities as everyone else and no longer feel relegated from society. That’s why we’re using the wide appeal and exposure of Southampton’s kit to highlight these issues to people across the UK.
“We want people to join us and become Disability Gamechangers so we can together create true equality for disabled people.”
Tracy Griffin, Executive Director, Marketing Fundraising and Communications at disability charity Scope, said:
“We’re delighted that Virgin Media and Southampton FC are committed Disability Gamechangers.
“We are determined that their example becomes a rallying call for everyone to think about what they can do and get involved.
“There is still a long way to go until all disabled people have an equal chance to live the lives they choose, free from barriers and low expectations.
“We’re urging everyone - businesses, Government, disabled people and non-disabled people – to become Disability Gamechangers and work together to achieve equality and fairness for disabled people.”
Equality and opportunity
Southampton FC is one of the most inclusive clubs in the Premier League with a wide range of accessible facilities to make all fans feel welcome at St Mary’s stadium.
Last season the club opened its door to a sensory room - funded by Virgin Media - providing a calming environment for fans of all ages with sensory differences, or who may find the atmosphere of a football stadium challenging.
David Thomas, Commercial Director at Southampton FC, commented:
“We are extremely proud to be able to join Virgin Media and Scope again this season, by wearing a one-off kit for the Leicester City game.
“Equality and opportunity are key in driving everything we do here at the football club, and it means a lot to us that our commercial partners share and support these values so openly.
“We are committed to ensuring disabled fans get the same opportunities as everyone else so they can enjoy the sport that we all love.”
Note to editors:
· Scope commissioned Opinium to conduct 2,000 online interviews with UK adults with long-term impairments or conditions between May 18 and 30 2018.
· Virgin Media became the official shirt sponsor of Southampton at the start of the 2016-17 season in a three-year deal.
· Virgin Media is the UK’s only TV provider to offer all the football on Sky Sports and BT sports in one package.
· Virgin Media began its partnership with Scope in 2015. In September 2017, we set an ambitious goal to support one million disabled people to get in and stay in work by the end of 2020.
· We have since launched ‘Work With Me’ - a call to action for businesses to come together to create more inclusive workplaces for disabled people.
· Through our partnership with Scope we will:
o provide disabled people with advice, information and support they need to help them get in and stay in work,
o transform the way Virgin Media supports disabled employees and customers,
o work with other UK businesses to share best practice of supporting disabled people
· Virgin Media is funding Scope’s new digital employment service for disabled people, ‘Support to Work’ – providing disabled people with employment information, support and advice.
· We’re also taking a number of steps to improve the experience for our customers. This includes increasing guidance for staff so they can offer appropriate help and support, and ensuring accessibility features are built into all new products and services.
For all Virgin Media press enquiries please contact;
email@example.com / 0333 000 2900 @VirginMediaCorp
About Virgin Media
Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.
Our dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely-available broadband speeds to homes and businesses and we’re expanding this through our Project Lightning programme, which could extend our network to up to 17 million premises.
Our interactive Virgin TV service brings live TV, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games to customers through a set-top box, as well as on-the-go through tablets and smartphones.
Virgin Mobile launched the world’s first virtual mobile network and offers fantastic value and innovative services with 4G connectivity. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.
Through Virgin Media Business we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds and tailor-made services.
Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company. Liberty Global connects 21 million customers through operations in 10 countries across Europe subscribing to 45 million TV, broadband internet and telephony services. It also serves 6 million mobile subscribers and offers WiFi service through 12 million access points across its footprint.