Sheffield's Rainbow Blades football fans launch Proud Allies campaign
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The campaign, which will be launched on Monday (June 14), highlights the importance of allies to the LGBTQ+ community and the aim to make Sheffield United FC truly United for All - somewhere all fans feel welcome.
The aim of Proud Allies is to increase awareness and to expand the base of visible allies to LGBTQ+ supporters around the club and beyond.
All new members will receive a digital Rainbow Blades Allyship booklet and, in addition, campaign pin badges will be on sale through the group’s website, with a £1 donation from every sale going to their charity partner, SAYiT, which supports young LGBT+ people in the city.
A video will be released featuring members and other allies speaking on the topic of Allyship, recorded outside Bramall Lane. Rainbow Blades is grateful to Whittam Cox Architects for its sponsorship of this campaign.
The campaign is urging people to get involved by making a pledge on social media, buying a pin badge, joining the Rainbow Blades, which is open to everyone, and downloading the Allyship booklet from www.shefflaces.com/rainbowblades/allies
James Laley, Rainbow Blades founder and chair, said: “The Rainbow Blades Allies campaign is another vitality important part of what we do and what Rainbow Blades is all about.
"The campaign isn’t just a flash in the pan. We want this to have longevity and work in tandem with Rainbow Blades. We want to be able to empower and give confidence to all Sheffield United fans to be #ProudAllies.
"Sheffield United fans are a family and we should all stand together, United for All.”
Anna Kent, campaign lead for Rainbow Blades, added: “It’s so important that we work with groups linked with the club, around the city, and beyond to highlight the importance of LGBTQ+ allyship.
"Our voice is so much stronger when we stand together. It’s wonderful that almost half of our membership of over 200 people are straight allies. We’d love this to be more than half!
"The vital work of Rainbow Blades will continue until every Sheffield United fan feels confident to be themselves at Bramall Lane.”
Amy Hood, EMPOWER LGBTQ+ coordinator at Sheffield United, commented: “The Rainbow Blades Allies Campaign is an incredibly powerful campaign and one that has potential to make a real impact and kickstart change both down at The Lane and in the football community as whole.
"The work Rainbow Blades has done over the last year has been unbelievable and the Allies Campaign is just yet another amazing piece of work they have put together.
"Football is all about being for everyone and having as many allies on board as possible will ensure football can be reached by everyone – including the LGBT+ community.
“The allies campaign will be so influential in raising awareness of how to be inclusive to everyone and give opportunities for every Sheffield United fan to be a part of the family down at Bramall Lane without feeling uncomfortable or excluded.”