Pride Month: Academy inclusivity project shows support for Pride

Burley Banksy teams up with Leeds United Academy to create special designs.

Academy Burley Banksy box banner.jpg

Burley Banksy has been busy painting street boxes once again but this time he has teamed up with the Leeds United Academy to paint a rainbow-inspired box that is based all around inclusivity and equality tying in perfectly with the month of Pride.

Pride Month is celebrated every June as a tribute to the LGBTQ+ community and Leeds United will be showing their support for the campaign throughout the month of June.

To help kick-off the celebrations for Pride, a new street box has been painted by avid Leeds United supporter Burley Banksy near to Thorp Arch training ground that was designed by a young Leeds United Academy player called Sam.

Sam along with all of the Academy age groups have taken part in sessions with Football vs Homophobia and engaged in online Equality, Diversity and Inclusion art workshops with the Leeds United Foundation. With the support of Burley Banksy a competition was hosted for the young players to design their very own street boxes that encompassed everything they had learnt about the importance of equality, supporting those from different backgrounds and being inclusive.

First-team player Mateusz Klich was also involved in the inclusivity project, looking at all of the competition entries and shortlisting five of his favourites to all receive a special prize before Burley Banksy chose a winner that he would then paint on a local street box close to the club’s training facilities.

The aim of the competition delivered by the Leeds United Academy was to produce a lasting message in the local area that would highlight the clubs drive to create an inclusive environment, whether that is for players, staff or supporters. The message to the young players coming through the Academy is that all members of the Leeds United Academy should be treated equally and fairly and should feel welcome at Elland Road and Thorp Arch.

Andy McVeigh ‘Burley Banksy’ spoke to LUTV after painting the design onto the local street box and he said: “I’ve been working with the Leeds United Foundation and the Leeds United Academy and following a session based on inclusivity and equality in communities and in the world in general, we did a little competition for the kids to design one of the street boxes like I do, and Sam came up with this fantastic design.

“It was inspiring to see how the young players embraced the project, taking into account the LGBTQ+ community and different races with their designs, they’re the future. I chose this one because of how colourful it was. It will really stand out when you’re driving past, and I loved the message ‘We Are Together’ as it not only symbolises inclusivity but also Leeds United as a whole at the moment.

“It’s essential to have these links between the club and the local community, just having Mateusz Klich involved in the project as well who I know loves street art, that really helps to show kids that the first team are involved in things happening in the community and they are behind this message of inclusivity.”

LUTV also spoke to the young player who had designed the box, Sam said: “The box design was meant to be about equality, and I wanted it to stand out a lot and be colourful like the rainbow, so everyone could see it. I never thought I’d win because I just thought other people would make a nicer design.

“It’s really good that it’s based just round the corner from the training ground, I can’t believe that people like Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha and Marcelo Bielsa will be able to see it. It’s so nice that first-team players and staff will be able to see it as well as anyone else in the community.”

If you would like to get involved in the celebrations for Pride Month, please click here for more information.

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