Bohemian FC launches Pride on the Pitch programme supported by Rethink Ireland


Bohemian FC is delighted to have received major multi-year funding for our Pride on the Pitch project, providing an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ young people to play football, access mental health resources, and challenge discrimination in the football community.

The programme, funded by Rethink Ireland, aims to create a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals aged 15 to 24, using football to enhance mental well-being and social connections.

‘Pride on the Pitch’ offers football training sessions led by trained coaches for 20 weeks annually. The focus is not only on physical activity but also on fostering a safe environment for participants to connect with peers who share similar experiences.

Recognising the mental health challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, the initiative provides access to counselling services and support from a dedicated Mental Health Support Coordinator. This confidential assistance can be accessed both in person and remotely.

The programme also gathers data to refine its approach and develop a toolkit for broader adoption. By challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity, ‘Pride on the Pitch’ aims to create a more accepting environment for the LGBTQ+ community in football.

In partnership with ShoutOut, Bohemian FC has organised workshops for academy coaches, enhancing inclusivity understanding. The club’s history of positive change, including participation in Dublin Pride, underscores its commitment to progress.

With support from Rethink Ireland, the Zurich Foundation, and the HSE, Bohemian FC is driving positive societal change through Pride on the Pitch, using football to foster acceptance and unity.

Bohemian FC Football Social Responsibility (FSR) Manager James Flanagan said: “We are delighted to announce we are an awardee of the Rethink Ireland Headstart Fund.

“Our programme, Pride on the Pitch, aims to create an environment for LGBTQ+ youth to feel safe and succeed in participating in football and feeling more inclusive in their local community by sharing experiences with their peers.

“We are really looking forward to working with our Pride Committee and our partners ShoutOut on this programme and at the end deliver a toolkit nationally which can be shared for best practices in all codes and continue to leave legacy of what GayBohs started in 2016.”

Jim McElroy, from the Bohs Pride Committee, said: “The Bohs Pride Committee is delighted that Rethink Ireland has awarded funding over three years to the forthcoming Pride on the Pitch programme by Bohs FC.

“Football can be an unwelcoming place for members of the LGBTQ+ community and we know that many young LGBTQ+ people don’t access football or fall out of love with it over time.

“As well as addressing this issue of queer participation in football, and in sport more generally, Pride on the Pitch has the potential to be a good-practice template for other clubs and organisations to use in the future, and that’s something that we’re very excited about.”

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