DERBYSHIRE, UK – 18 August 2023 – Throughout 2023 so far, staff across A1 Comms have worked hard to raise money for the business’ Community Partner, Alfreton Park School, and get involved in the local community – and none more so than Affiliate Executive Ellie Yates.
While Ellie’s contributions to the Deer Shed Project have gone above and beyond, she’s also managed to incorporate her interests into her fundraising and has worked tirelessly in other areas to bring to life a significant passion project that will have a long-lasting effect on the LGBTQIA+ community both in Derbyshire and further afield.
In her own time, she took regular meetings with her local team, Chesterfield FC, to help gain approval and backing for an LGBTQIA+ Supporters Group – the Rainbow Spireites.
“I set up Rainbow Spireites with my uncle, Darren, as we are both lifelong fans of Chesterfield FC and part of the LGBTQIA+ Community,” says Ellie. “We wanted to work with the club to provide a safe space where members of the LGBTQIA+ Community and allies can come together to share their support of Chesterfield FC and know that the club supports them too.”
After various meetings with the Community Trust at Chesterfield FC, the Rainbow Spireites were officially launched at Chesterfield Pride on Sunday 23rd July with Chesterfield Women’s player Tilly as a guest and Chesterfield FC mascot Chester the Field Mouse in attendance.
“We are a group created to provide a safe space for Chesterfield FC supporters that are members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” reads the official launch statement from Chesterfield FC. “We’re created by fans, for fans and aim to use our love for the club to not only provide support for members of the LGBTQIA+ community attending games but also to help support the club to support us.”
With membership now growing, Ellie is keeping involved with the group wherever possible to keep things moving forward, plan events, gather more members and raise awareness of the Rainbow Spireites – and achieve something even bigger in the football community.
“Through these meetings, we’ve been able to become an official Supporters’ Group of Chesterfield FC and are putting plans together for pre-match meetups and events,” Ellie goes on. “We have also spoken with various local LGBTQIA+ Supporters’ Groups to set up a ‘Regional Alliance’ which has been super helpful as they have helped us with what we needed to kick things off.
The alliance is made up of the Rainbow Blades (Sheffield United), the Rainbow Owls (Sheff Wednesday), the Proud Stags (Mansfield), the Proud Millers (Rotherham) and Marching Out Together (Leeds United), with Proud Forest (Nottingham Forest) to join soon.
Ellie explains: “It’s a group to provide support for local LGBTQIA+ Supporters’ Groups, share ideas and best practices and work together to make football more inclusive. The fact that we all dislike the other teams in football terms is a testament to how willing we are to work together!”
Meanwhile, as Ellie works to form these vital groups and alliances across the region, she’s still helping to raise money for A1 Comms’ Community Partner, Alfreton Park School – a school for students aged 2 to 19 with moderate to severe learning and physical difficulties.
Across the year so far, she’s organised a Football Merchandise Raffle that raised a huge £432 with such fantastic items as a signed match-worn Joe Quigley Chesterfield shirt, Gemma Lawley’s signed match-worn Birmingham shirt and plenty more – all sourced by Ellie. With the seasons only just starting, she’s working on drumming up more items to raffle off later in the year, but in the meantime has now organised a sweepstake for the Women’s World Cup this summer to raise more money.
To contribute to A1 Comms’ fundraising efforts or to learn more about upcoming events, please visit GoFundMe.