A series of football matches took place in Seaford at the weekend as part of a scheme aimed at tackling discrimination within sport.
For a third successive year the Tackle Homophobia Project with Sussex Clubs for Young People played host to the Sussex Round of a National five-a-side football tournament at the Downs Leisure Centre on Saturday.
More than 140 young people from across the county battled it out in various age groups in the spring sunshine attempting to progress in the national competition.
Tackle Homophobia Teams from Seaford and Peacehaven successfully won their groups, and will now progress to the South Regional Finals held in Basingstoke in April.
The tournament was organised as part of the Tackle Homophobia Project, a partnership between Mercread Youth Centre, The Justin Campaign and Albion in the Community, which works with young people across the Lewes District to raise awareness and challenge homophobia on and off the pitch.
Project coordinator Sam Whittaker said, “This established project continues to proactively challenge homophobia at a local grassroots level through positive activities and informal education.
“The young people involved represent the projects strong message that discrimination of any form in any setting is not acceptable.”
The project, now in its fourth year has engaged with more than 1,000 young people, through the delivery of educational workshops and weekly football sessions.
Tackle Homophobia Project coach Barry Cooper said, “The emphasis is on providing a supportive environment which is open and inclusive for all players whatever their background.”
Tackle Homophobia has received support from a wide range of organisations including the FA, and has been highlighted as an example of innovative good practice around challenging discrimination in sport.
Chris Gibbons, an FA inclusion education advisor added, “Putting young people at the heart of this work, through the Tackle Homophobia project, sends out a clear message that everyone regardless of sexual orientation should be able to enjoy participating in football.”