BEN CHILWELL AND JAMES MADDISON MEET FOXES PRIDE
In December 2019, as part of Leicester City’s support for Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, James Maddison and Ben Chilwell met with Foxes Pride to learn about what it is like to be an LGBT football fan.
The duo met members of the Club’s LGBT supporter group at King Power Stadium to find out more about them and to discuss the issues they face and the progress that has been made since their formation in 2014.
They also handed over match-worn football boots donated by other members of the squad to help with the group’s fundraising efforts.
Foxes Pride work with LCFC to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in football and to promote the welfare of the Club’s LGBT supporters by ensuring that King Power Stadium is a welcoming and friendly environment for all.
Maddison said: “We’ve got a very accepting changing room at Leicester, and if one of our teammates was to come out and say they were gay then nothing changes for us. That’s how it is with us and hopefully going forward it can be the same for everyone.”
Graeme Smith, Chair of Foxes Pride, said: “What we’re starting to see now, and Ben and James are examples of that, is players are beginning to get involved. The absolute key is helping people realise that you don’t have to be gay to stand up for LGBT people.”
Paul, member of Foxes Pride, added: “Meeting Ben and James was phenomenal. I genuinely don’t remember feeling like this would have happened five or ten years ago, so it’s fantastic to see a real sense of buzz around.”
SENSORY HOUR AND AUTISM PACKS
The Football Club have introduced a Sensory Hour in the Foxes Fanstore at King Power Stadium.
The initiative is an allocated hour for people living with autism, their families and carers to have a break from overwhelming noises and bright lights – the common barriers people living with autism face when accessing shops and facilities.
Taking place from 10am – 11am on the first Friday of each month, the Foxes Fanstore lowers its music and other background noises and dims its lights where it is safe to do so to create a shopping environment that is more comfortable for people living with autism.
In addition to this, Autism Packs, which include ear defenders, sensory tangles and further matchday information, are available to people living with autism, their families and carers at King Power Stadium.
Supported by Autism East Midlands, the packs are free of charge and are designed to improve the matchday experience, while forming part of the Football Club’s commitment to being more autism friendly.
DISABILITY CONFIDENT STATUS
Leicester City is a Disability Confident Employer, meaning it recognises the positive impact people with disabilities have in the workplace and helps employers make the most of their talents, while challenging behaviours and cultures.
The Club hosted a conference for 70 local businesses at King Power Stadium in the summer of 2019 to celebrate this status and to promote the importance of this standard and the benefits of becoming a Disability Confident Employer.
More than 120 people attended the event, where former Foxes captain Matt Elliott was a guest speaker, to promote their services in supporting disability confidence employment in Leicestershire.
NO ROOM FOR RACISM
Hamza Choudhury underlined the importance of reporting racist behaviour following the launch of the Premier League’s No Room For Racism initiative.
Leicester City, alongside the 19 other Premier League teams, joined forces in the battle against racism, emphasising the zero-tolerance stance towards discriminatory behaviour.
Choudhury – of Asian heritage – discussed his upbringing in Leicestershire, how his mother helped him to deal with being a victim of racism, and why reporting any abuse is vital in society’s fight against it.
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BLACK HISTORY MONTH
To mark Black History Month, former Leicester City forward Emile Heskey spoke about the current equality problems within football and how change can help to create a more inclusive sport for all.
The ex-England international, who is an ambassador for LCFC Women, outlined his thoughts on how to address the lack of diversity within many areas of the game and the importance of Black History Month.
Heskey believes it is important for the younger generation to have clear pathways available into professional elite sport to ensure the inclusivity seen on the pitch is replicated in all areas of the game.
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