A youth football team which represents an East Sussex-based project targeting homophobia has made it through to the final of a national competition.
The Tackle Homophobia under-16s will represent the county in the Gillette 5-a-side Tournament in Manchester in May after triumphing in the south region round of the competition in Basingstoke at the weekend on 13 April.
The team was formed as part of the Tackle Homophobia project, a partnership between East Sussex County Council, Albion In The Community – the charitable arm of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club – and The Justin Campaign, set up in memory of Justin Fashanu, Britain’s first openly gay professional footballer.
The under-16 were one of three sides from the project, based in Seaford and Peacehaven, to reach the semi-finals in their respective age categories, including the Tackle Homophobia under-14s.
The teams had progressed from the Sussex round of the competition, organised in partnership with Sussex Clubs for Young People, which was held in Seaford last month and attended by more than 100 young people.
Sam Whittaker, county council targeted youth support worker, said: “All the teams from East Sussex did really well and the under 16s showed real strength and skill against older teams to reach the final.
“As well as giving the team the chance to take on sides from around the UK, their presence in the final will help raise the profile of the project and spread the message that discrimination in sport, whatever form it takes, is not acceptable.”
Jacob Naish, head of community cohesion at Albion In The Community said: “This project has challenged the stigma surrounding these issues and created a platform for young people to target discrimination in grassroots sport.”
More information, and details of how to support the project, are available by calling Sam Whittaker on 07876 037545 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org