AVIVA Ireland Calls On Irish Sporting Community To #LACEUPWITHPRIDE This June

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YESTERDAY, Aviva Ireland, proud sponsors of Aviva Stadium, the IRFU, the FAI Men’s National Football Team, and the Women’s National Team, launched its #LaceUpWithPride Campaign.

The campaign sees Aviva Ireland team up with Intersport Elverys and BeLonG To Youth Services to give people the chance to buy rainbow laces, in selected stores and online, from Friday 4th June 2021, while stocks last.

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Irish International, Munster Rugby and UL Bohemians player Eimear Considine, and her younger sister Ailish, who plays with the Australian rules football team Adelaide Crows Football Club in the AFLW, today launched the #LaceUpWithPride campaign at Aviva Stadium.

The aim of the campaign is to raise funds for BeLonG To Youth Services, the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland.

Sport is known for its ability to drive positive change, unite people for common good and impact broader culture. However, a significant amount of discrimination continues to take place. According to research commissioned by BeLonG To Youth Services, sport is still a place where young members of the LGBTI+ community in Ireland do not feel accepted.

New research from BeLonG To on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on LGBTI+ young people in Ireland, revealed 73% of LGBTI+ young people report their physical health has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, with 31% reporting their physical health as bad or very bad.

Sadly, a number of barriers are preventing young LGBTI+ young people from engaging in physical activity, including mental health challenges, depression, struggles with body image and eating disorders. Solidarity from within the sporting community can generate feelings of acceptance, helping to address and confront some of these barriers to physical activity.

Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

As Ireland exits lockdown and sport gradually returns to clubs and pitches across the country, Aviva Ireland is inviting the wider sporting community to “open back up with Pride” and promote an environment of diversity and inclusion for Aviva’s #LaceUpWithPride campaign with BeLonG To Youth Services.

On Wednesday June 23rd, Aviva Ireland is calling on the Irish sporting community to #LaceUpWithPride in solidarity with the LGBTI+ community, inviting young and old alike to embrace their true selves, wearing their Rainbow laces with Pride.

The rainbow laces are available from Intersport Elverys for only €4, with all profits going to BeLonG To Youth Services. Laces can be purchased in selected Intersport Elverys stores nationwide, and online via this link:  www.elverys.ie

Speaking at today’s launch, Lisa Bergin, Sponsorship Manager at Aviva Ireland, said:

“As proud sponsors of Aviva Stadium, the IRFU and the FAI, we have seen first-hand how sport can be a force for positive change to our society and wider culture. It’s vital that sport is a place where everyone can be their true selves, and the sporting community can help make this happen.

“By showing their solidarity as powerful allies, our sporting community can help everyone to feel accepted. We are teaming up with Intersport Elverys for the #LaceUpWithPride initiative, to raise much-needed funds for the crucial work carried out by BeLonG To Youth Services, and we are hopeful that people will rally together to support this important cause.”

Moninne Griffith, CEO of BeLonG To Youth Services, also commented:

“Pride celebrates many of the same values that we associate with sport, such as diversity, inclusion, self-acceptance and self-expression. Unfortunately, as our research shows, sport is still a place where young members of the LGBTI+ community do not feel accepted.

“The #LaceUpWithPride campaign is a chance for fans, players and clubs across Ireland to show solidarity with the LGBTI+ community, and we are grateful for the support of Aviva Ireland and Intersport Elverys in bringing this initiative to life.”

Eimear Considine, UL Bohemians, Munster and Irish International Rugby Player, added:

“For as long as I can remember, coaches have always called on me to express myself. But not everyone feels they can express who they are on and off the pitch. It’s important that sportspeople show their support for initiatives like this, and push for our sports to be a place where everyone can pursue their passion and feel accepted.

“I’m honoured to be supporting Aviva’s #LaceUpWithPride campaign. Rainbow laces are a fantastic way for sportspeople to show their support for the LGBTI+ community.”

Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ailish Considine, Adelaide Crows Football Club AFLW Player, added:

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be myself and feel accepted for who I am, and I don’t think I’d be the player I am today without that environment, my teammates and my family. Whilst my experience in women’s sport both in Ireland and in Australia spotlights how inclusive sport can be, we can all do better and work harder to ensure everyone is welcome. Campaigns that spotlight the role sport can play in creating wider acceptance are very valuable and I will #LaceUpWithPride on 23rdJune.”

Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

As part of the initiative, Aviva Ireland will also make a €10 donation to BeLonG To Youth Services for every new Aviva Home Insurance policy taken out throughout the month of June. The #LaceUpWithPride initiative is part of the wider Pride Month 2021 plans lead by Aviva’s active Pride Community.

Cultures that embrace the diversity that the LGBTI+ community offers produce better work environments for all, where people can be themselves. Yet more than a third of LGBTI+ staff still choose not to disclose their sexual orientation at work for fear of discrimination.

Aviva Pride is a resource group for people within the company who believe it’s important to spend energy being yourself, not hiding it. For the month of June, Aviva Pride will be celebrating the diversity within the LGBTI+ community by sharing educational resources and creating fundraising opportunities.

The research from BeLonG To also revealed that for young people placed at a greater health risk as a result of COVID-19 and young people with disabilities, the services and supports necessary to facilitate their engagement with physical activity are limited and not sufficient in addressing their needs. For trans and non-binary youth transphobic harassment and gender dysphoria are consistent barriers to their participation in physical activity both prior to and during the pandemic.

For more information on the campaign, and to keep an eye on upcoming activities throughout the month of June, please visit: www.aviva.ie/pride

Follow: @AvivaIreland

#LaceUpWithPride

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