Stadium MK is already a flagship for disability provision and is now one of the first EFL Clubs to install a fully-equipped specialist disabled changing facility, under the national Changing Places scheme.
This exciting new project has only been made possible thanks to fundraising efforts of the MK Dons Supporters Association and support from the home improvement retailer Wickes and social enterprise VIY (Volunteer It Yourself).
Young volunteers from Milton Keynes College will boost their DIY skills at Stadium MK, which hosts 400,000 visitors yearly, by transforming an underused toilet and store cupboard into the new Changing Places facility, with a scope of work including bricklaying, painting, decorating and tiling. MK Dons manager Robbie Neilson also attended the project build this week to show his support.
The work is being carried out in association with VIY, which helps young people aged 14-24 to learn trade and building skills by fixing local community buildings. A summer of fundraising by the MK Dons Supporters Association enabled the Club to purchase specialist equipment to assist all profoundly disabled visitors to the stadium. The Club launched the wider volunteering project with Wickes and VIY to work alongside the in-house Stadium MK maintenance team and deliver the highest quality Changing Places specification.
The Bletchley and Milton Keynes Wickes stores have donated materials required for the project free of charge, with Wickes also funding the cost of all the external tradespeople and mentors on the ground.
The venture has enabled local young people to learn valuable trade skills while helping their local area by improving the facilities at Stadium MK for the wider community. Taking part in this project will also help open doors for the young people involved and help them to find apprenticeship and job opportunities.
Manager Robbie Neilson, said: “It’s fantastic that so many members of the community have come together to help MK Dons offer this new facility. Seeing all those people pitching in to do their bit for the project was inspiring, and VIY and Wickes have done well to secure so many willing volunteers.”
Sue Dawson, Operations Director at MK Dons said: “We are pleased to be able to create this new Changing Places disabled changing facility, working with local partners, Wickes and VIY, and of course the MKDSA.
“We’re committed to providing a welcoming environment for all our visitors and ensuring that they have everything they need to enjoy their experience at Stadium MK.”
Steve Ashby, Store Manager at Wickes in Milton Keynes, said: “We’re delighted that we are able to help MK Dons by ensuring that the volunteers have all the materials and tools they need for this renovation. It is great to be involved in such a fantastic project which gets young people excited while teaching them useful skills.
“The team is working hard and have done a fantastic job so far and are a testament to how anyone can pick up a paintbrush and do some DIY to help make a difference.”