Kelly hoping for some Kiddy magic with help from Fans For Diversity
The Fans For Diversity campaign will be supporting the international fixture between Panjab FA and Jersey FA, taking place tomorrow (Sunday 24 April) at Kidderminster Harriers’s Aggborough ground.
Kelly Perks-Bevington, who is disabled, has been involved with the club after she became majority shareholder of the club alongside her father in November 2015.
Kelly speaks exclusively to Kick It Out ahead of the game about her experiences as a disabled person involved in football, and her hopes ahead of the landmark fixture.
We initially invested in Kidderminster Harriers last year as we had educational aspirations surrounding the club. We wanted to work closely with the local college around the business of football alongside everything else that comes along with owning a football club.
It’s very important that the club integrate with the local community so that we are embraced meaning that as many people as possible are involved with Kidderminster Harriers; essentially making the club the pinnacle of the community.
Because the club has such a history behind it, I think people from the community want to get behind us and really get involved, so that is something that we are trying to increase and develop.
This is particularly important around the diversity projects that we are doing at the moment. This fixture fell nicely into our plans to make the club a more diverse and welcoming place. We met Harpreet Singh, who is the Chairman of the Panjab FA, a few times before as one of the Panjab players, Gurjit Singh, plays for us.
Harpreet mentioned that he wanted to arrange some fixtures ahead of Panjab going to the ConIFA World Cup in May. We started working on the fixture with him and then following discussions with Anwar Uddin, who runs Fans For Diversity, we decided that we wanted to make the game a celebration of diversity and the local community.
Organising the game has gone well so far and we have met some fantastic people who have been willing to help as much as possible. During the day we will have family activities happening; it promises to be an exciting day, providing we don’t have any bad weather! We’re already looking to do more fixtures similar to this in the future.
The majority of Harriers supporters have been really keen to be a part of the match and a large chunk of ticket sales so far have come from our fan-base, which is very encouraging. But we also hope to see plenty of new faces at the ground – hopefully associating the club with a fantastic experience.
We’re always hoping for new people to come and support Kidderminster and it’s vital that we embrace everyone who steps through the gates at Aggborough. I’m disabled and I use an electric wheelchair and I’ve noticed that football grounds are not particularly access-friendly.
The club is going to be making significant changes to the ground over the summer to make things better for disabled fans. We plan to install lifts and generally make the ground more accessible. I hope that we can set the example for clubs at our level and across all levels to make football more enjoyable for disabled fans as well.
I think the Fans For Diversity campaign suits us well as a club because we are trying to be more diverse and make the club more accessible to all. Anwar has been fantastic since he joined us in supporting this fixture.
He’s helped point me in the right direction in regards to making the game as inclusive as possible and given me some great ideas in terms of encouraging people from the Panjab to join us; hopefully they will come to a few Kidderminster games in the future as well. Anwar really knows what he’s doing!
I’m really looking forward to the game and I’m hoping for a great turnout on the day alongside everyone who has bought a ticket already. We have quite a large residential community around us so hopefully once we get the activities going ahead of the game, we’ll have more people come down and get involved as its going to be quite a festival!
We’re just hoping for a bit of nice weather for Sunday to go along with it!