In 2022, Co-Women became part of Lewes FC’s SisterShips initiative. The club is recognised as a forward-thinking organisation – it’s proud to be the world’s first gender-equal club, and this is something that we love!
Last weekend, a group of members visited the club’s home ground, The Dripping Pan, to watch Lewes Women’s FC take on Birmingham City. We’d picked a great opportunity to do so, as it also happened to be Green Football Weekend – an FA initiative which encourages clubs to shine a light on climate change.
The club offered a list of suggested actions, ranging from using public transport to travel to the match (something that they encourage anyway), to bringing a reusable coffee cup to the ground, and promoting vegan food and reusable menstrual products. They made great use of brand partnerships in doing so – we at Co-Women are always excited to hear about products which offer us a greater element of choice when managing our periods, and I was particularly pleased to discover a new brand which focuses on period-proof underwear which is designed for exercising in. Nixi Body sponsored the player of the match, ran a fantastic giveaway, and easily talked me into a purchase (there may be a review coming to the blog soon!).
We were delighted to meet up with our friend, Karen Dobres, who gave us an exclusive chat prior to kick off. Karen has recently completed a tenure as a Director at Lewes FC, and has been instrumental in championing the club’s goals of equality and inclusion. It was inspiring to hear about a woman who, by her own admission, hadn’t been interested in football previously, but was keen to be involved in supporting the club to improve. She’s now such a fan that she rarely misses a home game played by either team.
Karen gave us a tour of the ground – we happened to visit on a brilliantly sunny day, so it was great to wander around, despite it being February. One of the highlights was seeing the club’s community garden – aka Brad’s Pit, named for the player responsible for the initiative. Karen said that she likes to tell people that it’s about, “Growing good food AND good relations”, as the produce is donated to a local food bank.
Another inspiring move that the Club has made happened earlier this week. Karen had also shared with us that a number of people involved with the Club had undertaken training through local charity Survivors' Network. Following on from the training, Lewes FC has launched the Call Him Out campaign, which aims to tackle misogyny and sexism in football and beyond. The campaign has been launched during Sexual Violence Awareness Week, and you can find out more about it here.
I love watching live sport, but football has never grabbed me. However, attending the women’s game at The Dripping Pan was such a fun experience – undoubtedly helped by being with a group of Co-Women! The atmosphere is fun and friendly, with lots of families, and even dogs in attendance.
We made the most of exploring the vegan food options which had been offered due to Green Football Weekend – the “meatballs” were brilliant, as were the vegan hot dogs – and settled in to watch the match. Sadly, it was a very difficult day at the office for Lewes, as they suffered a heavy defeat to a Birmingham City side which was slick and ruthless – kudos to the visitors as they played very well.
Whilst touring the ground, we shamelessly promoted ourselves as the local joyful networking group for women. There was a lot of interest when we mentioned our next excursion – drag karaoke in Kemptown, which will only be a few hours away at most by the time you read this!
We’re proud to have boosted the attendance at the game this weekend – we were part of a crowd of 789 (dogs excluded!) at The Dripping Pan on Sunday, and indeed that Lewes Women had a significant success, as the men’s game on Saturday only brought in 751 attendees. Supporting other women and supporting our aim to seek joy at any opportunity – what more could we ask for?