by Catriona McAllister, CEO, Jersey Sport
This September, my colleagues at Jersey Sport and I are proud to support Pride in Sport, a campaign sponsored by EY to raise awareness and tackle the issues of racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and racism in sport. In collaboration with EY and Liberate, we are committed to creating an environment where everyone feels included, safe and welcome. Human beings perform better in sport when they feel accepted and free from discrimination.
Across the global sporting community we have been used to seeing examples of poor practice, with prejudicial language and behaviours often seen as ‘banter’, but these derogatory comments have a lasting effect on people’s mental health and give sport a bad reputation. In turn, this negative connotation of sport deters people from the LGBTQ+ community or marginalised groups from getting involved.
In Jersey, the Pride in Sport campaign is focused on inclusivity, in particular getting sports organisations, clubs and community groups to make their programmes as inclusive as possible. In addition to supporting the LGBTQ+ community to feel safe and included, we also want to promote equality and inclusivity for those who have English as a foreign language, those with additional needs, people with a disability or mobility issues and those from low socio economic families. We are passionate about creating an island-wide sports community that ensures everyone feels included and welcome.
Our Sports Partnership Manager at Jersey Sport, Libby Barnett, who works closely with local clubs and organisations, shared her thoughts on this month’s Pride in Sport: “We want to promote and celebrate sports organisations who already have Diversity, Equality and Inclusion practices in place, as well as supporting clubs who feel unsure about where to start. For example, we offer regular workshops to educate and share examples of best practice and we can advise on infrastructure and training in order for clubs to offer the best programmes for islanders all year round.”
“The football community is a great example of best practice as they’ve introduced walking football for older adults, offer programmes for women and girls, have disability provisions and work with charities such as Brightly to offer free holiday programme places for children.”
“Another great example of an organisation that’s created offerings to the wider community is the Table Tennis Association. Their free ‘Bat and Chat’ sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings are open to anyone, with the ‘chat’ element being crucial to social cohesion and for people to feel involved and accepted. Plus, the tea and cake is a bonus!”
As CEO of Jersey Sport, I’m incredibly proud of the work my team are doing at Jersey Sport to promote and advocate for inclusivity in sport and within physical activity community programmes across Jersey. We’re always happy to help clubs of all shapes and sizes, so if you’d like support with DEI initiatives during Pride in Sport and within your programmes all year round, please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To support this month’s Pride in Sport campaign, we’re distributing rainbow merchandise to sports clubs and organisations in the island, encouraging them to wear the rainbow laces or sweatbands with pride and to share their pictures across social media with the campaign hashtag #PrideInSport. If your club hasn’t yet collected this free merchandise, you can find all the details on our website at: jerseysport.je/jersey-pride-in-sport or contact our Sport Team at: email@example.com. Supporting the Pride in Sport campaign demonstrates your commitment to making sport an inclusive and welcoming space, free from discrimination.
Sport has the power to unite people and create positive change, but it can also be an arena for discrimination and prejudice. Why does sport have these problems and what can we do about it as leaders in our sports organisations, or in the moment as officials, coaches or players to promote positive change? These questions, and more, will be covered in our upcoming Equality, Diversity and Inclusion workshop on 13 November, in partnership with Liberate Jersey. For more details and to book your place, please visit: jerseysport.je/workshops-and-training
This article was originally published in the Jersey Evening Post on 23 September 2023.