Gillingham Football Club proudly welcomed Kick It Out t-shirt competition winner to match against Bury on Saturday afternoon
Besides collecting three valuable league points, the fixture gave the club the opportunity to raise awareness of Kick It Out and the work the football club is doing in partnership with the organisation and the Football League.
The club introduced a new match day reporting hotline number to provide an outlet for fans to report any incidents of discrimination they witness within the stadium.
Gillingham FC was also able to update fans on its work to complete an Anti-discrimination and Inclusion Code of Practice to achieve the highest standards possible.
The GFC Community Trust also commissioned a t-shirt competition giving young people within the county an opportunity to see their designs on the first team squad!
With the brief to create a design to promote the Kick It Out message, hundreds of designs were received making the final decision to select the winner a very difficult one.
Luckily, selection headaches are something Gillingham Manager and Assistant Justin Edinburgh and David Kerslake are used to. After much deliberation the pair selected the design of Kirsten Ann Young-Rogers from East Peckham Primary School to be used as the first team substitute’s warm up shirts.
Kirsten was notified of her winning design and given a special invite to Saturday’s game. Presented with a copy of her t-shirt design, Kirsten was welcomed onto the Priestfield pitch to be congratulated by Head of the GFC Community Trust Adam Lawrence and Cory Hendricks Jackman, Grassroots Football Development Officer from Kick It Out.
Kirsten described how she came up with the shirt design.
“When I was at home, I sort of thought in my head. I read what we were doing and how shirts have lots of different numbers and colours. So I thought if shirts can be lots of different colours, why can’t players be?”
“I also added a broken heart but there’s a ribbon around it to show that football can bring people together.”
Talking about her experience pitch side, Kirsten said: “It was an incredible feeling and I was surprised. It feels quite amazing and different to be on the pitch because I’ve never done this before. I was excited to see the players in my shirt.”
To read more about Gillingham FC’s work around equality and discrimination please click here.
Don’t forget if you witness an incident of discrimination at Priestfield Stadium, help us Kick It Out by calling out reporting hotline on 07464392739.