Wrexham-based Bellevue FC have released a new season kit which represents marginalised voices across the community.
The strips have been designed by Top Mark Uniform in a unique partnership with Football vs Homophobia.
Bellevue, the first and award-winning, league registered, multi-ethnic and inclusion specific football team in Wales, unveiled the latest kits for their teams this weekend.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will now play in a home kit of white shirts with rainbow pinstripes and striking away strips of rainbow camouflage print.
A representative from Bellevue FC said “The new kits are sure to be a unique and eye-catching addition to Welsh football and we think they’re a great follow-up from last season’s rainbow numbers.
“Even though we are still waiting for the proper return of football in Wales, we decided not to wait any longer to make these announcements.
“Whether we play this season or not, these are things we can be proud of in 2020. We have seen LGBTQ+ hate crime increases again this year, so this is still a message that needs to be represented in our community.
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Football v Homophobia to continue sending this crucial message of hope.”
Football v Homophobia is an international initiative that exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation gender identity, and expression at all levels of football.
They aim to enable football to lead the way in removing discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The home shirts do not feature a sponsor this year, instead there is a Black Lives Matter patch on one side in order to support a movement which the both the club and Top Mark Uniforms strongly believe in.
On the opposite side is a display of their Citizens of the World status. The club became a representative of the Citizens of the World initiative when they were invited to the House of Lords by Lord Roberts of Llandudno.
The away kits include a chest sponsor from The Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW) as an acknowledgement of their continued work in the community, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organisation have co-ordinated the community response to the pandemic, helping people and organisations in need during this difficult time.
John Gallanders, Chief Officer of AVOW, said: “We are extremely pleased to be a sponsor for Bellevue FC’s new football kits supporting Football v Homophobia, to help raise the profile of equality and inclusivity in sport.
“Football is a way in which everyone can come together as one, raising both a team spirit as well as individual attainment, as they rise to the challenge of wanting to compete. We wish the team and the project all the best and hope the community of Wrexham come together to support those taking part.”
The kits have been developed alongside Wrexham business Top Mark Uniforms, with a collaboration between the club’s community and inclusion ethos, and the design department at the company.
Andy McHugh, director of Top Mark Uniforms, said “We’ve had the privilege of working with the guys, and girls, of Bellevue FC for the last three years now and when they approached us this year for a new kit we were only too happy to help again.
“We understand the club’s ethos and values and we wanted to make a statement this year with their kit, so we sat down collectively and discussed how we could achieve producing a kit that represents them.
“The first stage was to discuss all aspects of the club’s values, these being providing opportunities to play football for those people perceived to be from adverse backgrounds or those from backgrounds of social poverty.
“The club works with people from BAME backgrounds including refugees, asylum seekers, economic and education migrants. Bellevue is fully inclusive and offers opportunities to local people with mental health issues, learning difficulties, LGBTQ, people with minor disabilities and everyone else who has ever experienced a barrier participating in sport in the area.
“Armed with all the information provided by Delwyn and the team we drew up several designs which we feel would represent the club. Whilst we were looking to produce a kit representative of the club, we also wanted to make sure the quality and design were relevant in today’s market. We wanted to keep the kits modern and so we added a dipped hem to the rear of the shirts and a double cuff on the hem on the sleeves.
“In the home shirt final design we incorporated the club’s colours, white shirt and black shorts, being representative of the mix races who are part of the club and the pin stripes being in the LGBTQ community colours.
“The away shirt final design we had a bit of free rein on and we came up with the full camo shirt but ironically it has the brightest LGBTQ colours possible. The idea behind this is that everybody associates camo with the army and with being hidden. We wanted to flip this and so we made it as bright as possible, as we believe that nobody should have to hide, whether it be their race, gender, religion, nationality etc.
“I know the club are over the moon with the designs, as are we, and we hope that everybody that is represented by the kits like them as well.”
The kits were launched on Saturday, when Bellevue FC played against Mynydd Isa Spartans Reserves at their home ground of Bellevue Park, Wrexham.