There will be 'Dons debuts' on Saturday for a group of local women who have never previously attended a football match before.
With our match against Blackpool designated as our Women at the Game event, ladies from the Saheli and Milaap Centre groups in Kingston will take in the match day experience at AFC Wimbledon. We’ve already given them a ‘taster’ of what to expect a few weeks ago when they were given a tour of the stadium and watched a presentation all about our unique club.
This event has been organised by the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Working Group, set up by The Dons Trust and led by DT Board member Jane Lonsdale MBE.
Anuk Teasdale, a member of the Dons Trust Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, said: They are a group of women that really want to engage with the community. They were really happy to be here, they were very enthusiastic, and they asked a lot of pertinent questions about the match day experience. I think they are going to be surprised by what a positive experience they can have at an AFC Wimbledon match. They would previously have only experienced watching their national team on the TV or watching the World Cup and they would only have been doing that because the male members of their families had been watching football. They asked a lot of questions about the pitch, the referees, and they said that this appeared to be a friendly and welcoming place. I think they are going to have an incredibly enjoyable and fun experience.”
'Women at the Game' is an initiative set up by the late Jacqui Forster, from Supporters Direct (now part of the Football Supporters Association). The aim is “to give women their first taste of live football in a supportive environment”. Also supporting the day are Fans For Diversity, whose aim is "to celebrate diversity among football fans and ensure that all fans can feel safe and welcome at football". At AFC Wimbledon, we are committed to inclusivity and we strive to make watching football more accessible and enjoyable to all, regardless of their age, gender or background.
Jane Lonsdale said: “In preparation for Saturday, we invited a group of Asian ladies to the ground. We gave them a tour around the stadium and showed them programmes and videos so that they know what AFC Wimbledon is all about. It’s the second year that we’ve run this event. Last year we had a group of women at a game and they had never been to a match before. This year we are welcoming this group of Asian ladies to the game and we are hoping that this will become an annual event.”
The Dons Trust Diversity & Inclusion Working Group also welcome new members and new ideas, so if you would like to join the group, please contact Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org .