Proud Baggies launch the 1968 Club - A campaign to help reduce loneliness amongst the older LGBT+ population

Proud Baggies launch the 1968 Club - A campaign to help reduce loneliness amongst the older LGBT+ population

Proud Baggies, West Bromwich Albion’s official Supporter Group for LGBT+ fans has launched a campaign in support of reducing social isolation amongst LGBT+ elders.

In association with Ageing Better Birmingham and with support from Birmingham LGBT’s Ageing with Pride programme, The ‘1968 Club’ will offer free tickets, travel and refreshments at all WBA home games throughout the season for LGBT+ people over 50 who find themselves isolated from the community.

Piero Zizzi, Proud Baggies founder says “we have a unique opportunity to support older and socially isolated LGBT+ people who otherwise would not engage with other LGBT+ people, by offering a safe environment to attend football matches accompanied by members of our group. The 1968 Club is a fitting title since to be eligible you have to have been born before we won our 5th and most memorable FA Cup”.

Research shows that older LGBT+ people are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation as they are more likely to be single, live alone and have lower levels of contact with relatives. They are also less likely to engage with local services with a recent survey finding that four fifths of older LGBT+ people do not trust professionals to understand their culture or lifestyle.

Older LGBT+ people tend not to socialise in ‘usual’ LGBT+ communities, which tend to be focused around bars and clubs and target younger audiences as a result. The macho/aggressive and often homophobic nature of football has also been shown as a barrier to LGBT+ people attending games particularly among older generations who may have lost touch with fellow supporters as a result of lengthy absences from matches.

Proud Baggies are the official WBA LGBT+ Supporters Group, founded in 2017 to improve the football experience for LGBT+ fans at and around WBA Football Club and helping to make The Hawthorns stadium a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Their work has recently been rewarded with a nomination for the ‘Best Club and Supporter Group Relationship’ award at the prestigious National Football Business Awards.

Martin Swain, WBA’s Communications Director says “Since their inception, Proud Baggies have proven a proactive and valued member of the Albion family. A driving force for the Club’s inaugural and acclaimed ‘Diversity Day’ in November 2017, the group now plays a leading role in uniting fellow WBA supporters’ clubs”.

For more details please contact Piero Zizzi:

| 07545 584689

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