As part of the Foundation’s commitment to help Sheffield become a more healthy, empowered and inclusive community, we’ve been able to expand our delivery in recent years to run LGBT+ inclusive sessions at Ponds Forge.
Ellie Wilson, Empower LGBT+ Lead said, “Within the project we aim to empower young people in the LGBTQ+ community and provide them with sessions to boost their confidence. It provides the participants with a safe space to do activities, meet people, make new friends and it really helps their mental health. It produces an environment where they can be comfortable and be themselves because if they were to participate in another session outside of here they may not feel they could do that. It provides opportunities which is really important.”
Ellie explains how the sessions have helped Rowan, a participant turned coach: “It’s been great to see how Rowan has gone from participating to volunteering to now delivering the trampolining sessions at Ponds Forge. They’ve built their confidence, made new friends, brought people in from the LGBT+ community and the sessions are going from strength to strength under them.”
Rowan explains how important these sessions are to them: “I realised that a lot of people were afraid to come along to our sessions as they weren’t entirely sure if people were going to be friendly. I know I’ve had struggles in the past and I just wanted to help create a safe space for people to join the sport that I love.”
“Having previously participated in the project, I really like the fact that I can just be myself. When I first came along to the Foundation’s swimming sessions, it was something I’d put off from doing ever since I came out as transgender, purely because in public swimming pools people would judge or say rude comments, and I knew the sessions would be a safe space to just get some exercise, meet new people and have some fun. It’s so important to have LGBT+ friendly sessions because so many people find it such a barrier when there are cisgender and heterosexual people in the room, because there isn’t that element of safety. I really love the project, I love what it does, I love what it stands for.”
If you would like to get involved in our free Empower LGBT+ programme, please contact Ellie.Wilson@sufc-community.co.uk for more details.