Their efforts begin next weekend, when twenty players from the women’s branch of Leeds Hyde Park Football Club will scale the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough to raise money for Leeds-based charity TransLeeds and the club’s ongoing community outreach work.
Founded six years ago, LHPFC was set up by Adel Chermiti in response to the need for sports provision amid a vacuum of opportunity for underprivileged children in the Hyde Park area.
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In 2020, a women’s team was created and what started as a training session attended by just six footballers – with no substitutes come matchday – is now a thriving community with 100+ members, with the club set to submit two league teams for the 2022/2023 season.
In the coming weeks, the women’s branch is putting on a number of fundraising events in order to support the club’s community-orientated mission – on the 25th of June, Hyde Park are inviting Leeds-based football teams to participate in a charity seven-a-side football tournament.
Before then, though, a group of club members will be attempting to conquer three of the Yorkshire Dales’ highest peaks in one fell swoop.
Izzy Lowen, manager of the women+ side, explained the team’s goal.
“The women’s branch of the team have been really striving to fundraise – all the fundraising we’ve done goes into the wider club,” Lowen said.
“A lot of what we do is getting these kids into the football team.
“About 50% of the kids who come along to training are sponsored by the club, so they don’t pay to train, because being part of this underprivileged sector of society – they can’t afford it.
“And that’s a big reason why people don’t get into sports, because these socio-economic barriers are a very real factor.
“And so if you can’t pay, you can still come and train, you can still come and play.”
Keen to partner with a range of community causes, LHPFC women+ wanted to share the fruits of their fundraising efforts and from a shortlist of local charities, members voted to support TransLeeds, a volunteer-led support and advocacy group for transgender-identifying people in the city.
“We went for TransLeeds, which is a cause very close to a lot of people’s hearts in the club,” Lowen said.
“There’s quite a lot of trans, non-binary, and non gender-conforming people in the club.
“It’s a very topical issue at the moment, and we feel like any support we can give – whether that’s raising awareness or fundraising – it can do a world of good for our own members and people that we know.”