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South Shields FC players and staff participate in Stonewall workshops

South Shields FC underlined its ongoing support for LGBTQ+ inclusion as players and staff took part in a series of workshops with national LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall.

Members of the club’s men’s, women’s, Academy and office teams were involved in the sessions, which were held in the marquee at 1st Cloud Arena.

Stonewall ally Jade Thirlwall – the club’s honorary president – was present throughout the afternoon of workshops, which focussed on education, inclusivity and creating a safe space within sporting teams for anyone from the LGBTQ+ community.

Jade, a global pop superstar, is a longstanding ally to the LGBTQ+ community and charity Stonewall, who together hosted a Pride Day at her bar in South Shields, Arbeia, on Sunday, July 23rd. The day consisted of a community fair, LGBTQ+ empowerment workshop led by Stonewall, and Pride celebration in the evening - with performances from Joe McElderry, Tia Kofi and Black Peppa, and all funds raised going to Stonewall UK and local LGBTQ+ causes.

Jade said: “It is so important to me to ensure that people from the LGBTQ+ community have access to safe spaces in their hometowns, and fully inclusive environments in which they can meet other people from the community.

“This extends to the sporting world, where safe spaces and inclusivity for all teams and staff members is not negotiable. It is imperative.

“The positivity, inclusivity, education, and empowerment that came out of these events and workshops is incredible and it is testament to the phenomenal work of Stonewall. It has been an honour to work alongside them to bring these events to South Shields.”

South Shields FC is a supporter of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, and encourages its players, staff and fans to stand as LGBTQ+ allies and ensure that everyone is free to be themselves at 1st Cloud Arena.

South Shields FC captain Blair Adams said: “This was an event the players were extremely keen to get involved in.

“It’s important that we continue to educate ourselves on this issue because it’s vital we ensure everyone – regardless of their background – feels able to be themselves not just at football matches, but in their life in general.

“Visible support like this can only have a positive impact and we are proud to support the outstanding work carried out by charities like Stonewall.

“As a prominent organisation in the town, we feel the club is in a strong place to lead the way on subjects like this and to play a part in making sure we have an inclusive society which is welcoming to everyone.”

Liz Ward, director of programmes at Stonewall, said: “It’s been truly amazing to work with South Shields FC and Jade Thirlwall over the recent Pride weekend.

“Building inclusive communities helps to create a world in which LGBTQ+ people are free to thrive, no matter where they live, or who they love.

“The sessions at SSFC were a great testament to the commitment the club is making to ensure everyone feels accepted and championed at SSFC.”

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