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07 December 2023

BHAFC Foundation spreads Rainbow Laces message across Sussex

BHAFC Foundation spreads Rainbow Laces message across Sussex

The BHAFC Foundation has been working hard to promote Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign this December.

BHAFC Foundation tutors have been holding workshops in Sussex primary schools, teaching younger pupils about inclusion and the importance of allyship.

Albion’s home fixture against Brentford (6/12/23) was the club’s designated Rainbow Laces fixture. To celebrate, the Foundation ran a competition asking local children to help design a shirt to promote Rainbow Laces.

Children were asked to submit their most colourful, inclusive, and supportive shirt designs to show support to the LGBTQ+ community.

Hundreds of local children entered the competition, with plenty of Sussex schools getting their pupils involved.

The Foundation received hundreds of amazing entries from children of all ages, giving our judging panel a very tricky job in deciding the winner. DJ and famous Albion fan Fatboy Slim also got involved in the competition by joining the judging panel.

One girl’s design was chosen as winner – a design by Livs Cook, 14, from Bognor Regis.

Livs’ design was produced by Nike as a jersey for the players to wear during their pre-match warmup before the game. The jersey was also worn by Albion mascots Gully and Sally, and featured before the game as a giant centre-circle display.

Livs was over the moon to win the competition.

I’m super excited, it came as such a shock to me,” she told us, “I’ve been a huge Brighton fan since the day I could talk due to my grandad sharing his passion for the club he’s supported since he was little, which makes this experience even more amazing.

“It’s going to feel incredible seeing my shirt design on the pitch at the Brentford game, I can’t wait to share that moment with my grandad and the rest of my family.”

Livs’ amazing design shows a classic blue-and-white Albion shirt at the bottom, which bleeds into a fantastic rainbow-coloured design at the top.

“I really wanted to see if I could incorporate the traditional Brighton blue and white striped shirt into my design,” Livs said.

“I thought that the drips of rainbow colours would represent the merging of the rainbow laces with the Albion. I also added the writing as I wanted to emphasise the point that everyone is equal in sport.

Sarah Byrne, who promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion at the Foundation, was delighted to see so many local kids get involved with the competition.

“When we launched this competition we hoped that local kids would get involved, but to have had so many entries has really blown us away.

“We saw so many amazing designs with positive messages, so it’s heartening to know there are so many young people in Sussex who are passionate about supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

“Well done to Livs for her brilliant design, I can’t wait to see it featured at the Brentford game!”

One local school – Oak Grove College in Worthing – sent in a fantastic 70 entries for the competition.

To thank them for their contribution, the Foundation and the Premier League organised for a special event; Albion mascot Gully came to meet pupils at Oak Grove, and the Premier League trophy was brought down to the school.

“It’s been truly inspiring to see our students taking part in this competition so enthusiastically,” said Ross McKay, PE Lead at Oak Grove.

“It has not only raised awareness but also fostered a sense of unity and understanding among our students.”

To help further spread the message, the Foundation’s football coaches and tutors have been wearing the Rainbow Laces jersey while delivering their lessons.

The Rainbow Laces campaign was launched by Stonewall in 2013, and is supported by the Premier League, to show support for LGBTQ+ inclusion in football.

Find out more.


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