The Blades official charity, Sheffield United Community Foundation, are launching their new Empower LGBT+ project in partnership with Yorkshire Sport Foundation to tackle inequalities in sport and physical activity for LGBT+ youth in Sheffield.
Empower LGBT+ is a new three-year programme funded by the Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association Community Fund (PLPFA) and Yorkshire Sport Foundation, to provide positive safe spaces, free of discrimination, which enable LGBT+ young people aged 11-25 to be regularly active and to provide opportunities to develop their skills and confidence in sport and physical activity.
Katie Glossop, Participation & Inclusion Manager at Sheffield United Community Foundation, said: “We are extremely excited about the launch of this programme and know that action is required to tackle LGBT+ inequalities not only in sport but in everyday life too. Everyone should be able to take part in sport regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, and as a community we can create a safer and more inclusive place to help those who currently face barriers to activity.”
Debra Cummins, Development Manager at Yorkshire Sport Foundation, added: “We’re pleased to support SUFC on this great project. Working with organisations like the Foundation to tackle inequalities through the power of sport and physical activity is something we believe in passionately. We look forward to seeing what can be achieved over the next few years to create more opportunities for LGBT+ young people.”
Sheffield United Community Foundation will work closely with Sheffield’s LGBT+ youth charity, SAYiT, to deliver workshops and training on LGBT+ inclusion, help raise awareness of how the language currently used in everyday life can negatively affect LGBT+ people and create a more empowered and inclusive community for everyone to participate in sport and physical activity.
Heather Paterson, CEO of SAYiT, said: “We have worked supporting LGBT+ young people in Sheffield and surrounding areas for 21 years and are excited to work with Sheffield United Community Foundation on this project. We are acutely aware of inequalities faced by LGBT+ young people in sport and wider issues with health and wellbeing and believe the Empower project offers a fantastic opportunity to address some of these issues.”
This year saw the creation of Rainbow Blades, the official inclusive supporters’ group of Sheffield United FC. Rainbow Blades aims to be a friendly, welcoming and inclusive Sheffield United Fan Group for all LGBT+ communities and allies. They want to help make Bramall Lane and Football in general inclusive spaces where everyone feels safe to be themselves. As a Foundation we will actively support Rainbow Blades and the Sheffield Rainbow Laces campaign for LGBT+ equality and inclusion and will be working in partnership with Rainbow Blades to ensure football is everyone’s game.
James Laley, Rainbow Blades Founder and Chair, said: “Rainbow Blades are honoured to be able to work with Sheffield United Community Foundation on the Empower LGBT+ Project. We are committed to ensure football is welcoming to all sexual orientations & gender identities and have a duty to lead by example. We look forward to working with the Community Foundation on creating opportunities for young LGBT+ people in Sheffield to engage with football & physical activity.”
A three-year grant of £125,000 from the PLPFA Community Fund will be supported with £15,000 of match funding and support from Yorkshire Sport Foundation.
2020 has been a year of challenges for everyone but the Foundation have continued to develop and improve their equality, diversity, and inclusion, including LGBT+ equality. This project will help us in our commitment to tackling inequalities and discrimination of any kind and provide opportunities for LGBT+ youth to participate in sport. Together we can do more, and we will continue to promote and champion equality, diversity and inclusion across everything we do at Sheffield United Community Foundation
For more information on the Empower LGBT+ project or the wider work we do, please visit our website at www.sufc-community.com