Black Country Fusion FC wins FA inclusivity award
An LGBTQ-friendly football club has received an award to recognise its work to promote inclusion.
Black Country Fusion FC, based in Wednesfield, was given the Grassroots Project of the Year for 2019 by the Staffordshire Football Association (FA) as part of the Annual Grassroots Awards.
Club chairwoman and founder Skye Stewart said: “It’s absolutely amazing to be awarded Grassroots Project of the Year for our work promoting inclusivity.
“I was shocked. Obviously I knew we do the work, but I don’t really take it for granted.
“It’s something that we do and we get on with it.
“We’re so proud and to be recognised for the work we do is amazing.
“It’s amazing for the team. I think someone nominated us, to be honest. I found out via email that we had won the award.”
The 33-year-old said she was passionate about promoting equality in the Wolverhampton Sunday League club.
She has also spoken at LGBTQ events across the region and is working with Just A Ball Game?
She said: “We say we’re an inclusive team and that’s our ethos.
“We want to represent our community and that’s in the heart and soul of everything we do.
“No-one should be forced out of football because of their race, colour, sexual preference or religion.
“People should be able to play football in a safe space and environment.”
The Wednesfield-based club shot to fame after being featured in Carling’s Made Local campaign TV advert this year.
And through funding from the beer firm, Black Country Fusion FC bought new home and away kits – helping it to spread its message of equality.
Skye, who lives in East Park, said there was a “massive demand” for LGBTQ-friendly clubs across the country.
“We’ve got someone who comes from Manchester to play with us because they don’t feel safe playing there,” she said.
“I think people need to go out there and promote it and say ‘we don’t care who you are, as long as you can play you can be part of the team’.
“There’s a massive demand for it.
“And sometimes the LGBTQ-friendly community are scared because of discrimination, so it’s important everyone feels safe as well.”
Anyone who wants to play for the club, including in the open-aged ladies team and over 30s veterans team, can contact Black Country Fusion FC on Twitter or Facebook.