On Saturday at the Blackpool game, the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group extended a warm welcome to a group of women who experienced their first-ever live football match.
Women at the Game is an initiative that was set up by Jacqui Forster, formerly of Supporters Direct – now part of the Football Supporters Association, which also runs the Fans for Diversity campaign. Jacqui has sadly passed away, but her legacy lives on. The stated aim of Women at the Game is “to give women their first taste of live football in a supportive environment”. At AFC Wimbledon, we are committed to inclusivity and, as Jacqui did, we strive to make watching football more accessible and enjoyable to all, regardless of their age, gender or background. To help promote this agenda, the club’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Working Group welcomed a group of women from the Saheli and Milaap Centre groups in Kingston to the dedicated Women at the Game match.
At AFC Wimbledon we pride ourselves on being an inclusive club. Whilst our regular fans know this, there are members of our community who don’t know us yet, or what we stand for. We feel it is therefore very important to reach out to the wider community, however that is defined, and invite new supporters in. We want everyone, young or old, male or female, whatever their personal history, to feel united in watching football together. We hope that fans from all backgrounds, genders, races or religious beliefs will feel welcome to watch live games, here at the Cherry Red Records Stadium and at our future home in Plough Lane.
To help prepare the Saheli and Milaap Centre women to feel at home, Jane Lonsdale and Anuk Teasdale from the D&I Working Group recently hosted them on an afternoon’s visit to the stadium. Our guests were shown some videos of a matchday experience and the work of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation, after which they had a tour of the stadium, and the opportunity to ask questions. We hope we made them feel welcome. So, to the women from the Saheli and Milaap Centre groups – we hope you all enjoyed your first match. We hope it won’t be your last and we look forward to seeing you here again.
The D&I Working Group was set up, and is chaired by, Dons Trust Board member Jane Lonsdale. The group works closely with Amanda Bynon, the club’s dedicated Diversity and Inclusion officer. We welcome new members and new ideas, so if you would like to join the group please contact Jane at email@example.com. More details about Women at the Game can be found at womenatthegame.wordpress.com