Fans for Diversity: reaching new areas

Gloucester AFC Fans For Diversity

January and February have been busy months for the Fans for Diversity campaign. Campaign organiser Anwar Uddin tells us about the work going on…

Wingate & Finchely Disabled Supporters Forum

Anwar kicked off the new year by supporting a new disabled forum at Wingate & Finchley, who ply their trade in the Isthmian League.

Headed up by Manisha Tailor the forum aims to help those in the area with mental health disabilities enjoy football in a safe space and support their local football club.

"It's all about participation," Anwar said. "The forum does coaching, fitness and other activities with those fans.

"They're creating that environment where disabled fans can feel part of a group, it really helps them when it comes to matchday."

Blues 4 All - away days

Blues 4 All aim to get more supporters along to St Andrews on matchday that traditionally thought football "wasn't for them". They've enjoyed significant success in recent months, getting more and more people from the local asian community into the match-going habit.

However, one area where numbers haven't improved is away days - and that is something Blues 4 All wanted to address. 

"Going to an away game is a totally different experience to home games," Anwar says. "It's a very special thing seeing your team in a new ground, in a new part of the country. It has a unique atmosphere to it.

"The guys who run Blues 4 All are season ticket holders and have been going to away games for years, but noticed people they'd been helping get to the match didn't even consider away trips."

With Fans for Diversity support, Blues 4 All identified Birmingham City's trip to Blackburn as a viable option to introduce fans to the away day experience. Coach travel was provided for the day and around 30 Blues fans experienced their first away game. 

Anwar said. "Providing that stepping stone for younger fans to get to their first away game was a brilliant idea.

"Hopefully some of the misconceptions about away games have been tackled and they've caught the bug for away trips!"

Gloucester City keeping the connection

Gloucester City have been forced from their ground due to the flood damage, and now play their home games at Cheltenham - almost ten miles away. 

For a team like Gloucester City AFC in the National League North the move has hit attendances and with it much-needed gate receipts.

Anwar said the club contacted him for advice about how to maintain that connection with supporters and reach out while the club's ground is fixed.

Fans for Diversity assisted the club in getting an extra 70 fans along from under-represented groups to experience non-league football for Gloucester's match against Salford.

"It was good to help Gloucester City boost their gate and help young people experience live football at the same time," Anwar said. 

Fans for Diversity FC

Fans for Diversity will be creating its own football team and will be taking on Stonewall in its opening fixture to mark LGBT history month, to be hosted at the Metropolitan Police FC's ground.

Anwar has been overwhelmed with applications receiving more than 100 applications for the 20-man squad.

"I'm really looking forward to the first match," Anwar said. "It will give like-minded fans the chance to play football at great non-league grounds in an atmosphere of equality and inclusion."

The fixture will take place next Wednesday 22nd February at Imber Court.

Fans for Diversity is a joint campaign run with Kick It Out, football's anti-discrimination group. Find out more about the campaign here.