Making safer, stronger communities is at the heart of everything we do at Ring and we are always looking for ways to support and shine a light on organisations that share that same mission. Based in South Wales, the Cardiff Dragons are the perfect example of an organisation that has evolved out of a desire to bring people together to forge bonds and build a community.
In 2008, the Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) was created as a place where supporters of different clubs could get together and socialise around a mutual love of football. At the time, many of its members had witnessed or experienced homophobia in football and as a result, they felt uncomfortable playing for other football teams at the time. It wasn’t long before members started having a kickabout, which developed into playing 5-a-side matches, eventually evolving into the Gay Football Supporters Network League.
“I was looking for somewhere that was inclusive and wasn’t just macho. For me, it was all about playing football and then when I got there, I discovered the community side,” team treasurer Ryan told us.
Born out of the Gay Football Supporters Network, the Cardiff Dragons are an LGBTI+ football club that prides itself on equality and inclusivity. Originally named the Cardiff Sharks, the club quickly changed its name to something more suitably Welsh. With members aged from 18 to 60, the club has seen a steady increase in membership, all dedicated to their chosen sport. Not limited by gender or sexuality, the team is open to anyone and it aims to be a safe space for players from the trans community, regardless of their transition status.
“The rules around transgender players playing in affiliate football are quite restrictive. So the idea is creating a safe space for LGBT people to play football.“ said Ryan.
The Cardiff Dragons have gone from strength to strength, adding a Monday night 5-a-side team, Dragons Rock - a women’s, trans and non-binary team and the GFSN team - an 11-a-side squad that’s open to all genders. Despite their rapid growth, the club has maintained its original ethos of equality and inclusion.
As Ceri Bower told us, “As soon as I found out I could come and play and feel recognised for who I am, I was like, there’s nothing stopping me. Coming and playing football has given me community and a safe space.”
The Cardiff Dragons are a great example of how communities can be strengthened by sport, connecting people through a shared interest and mutual respect.
In 2021, Ring teamed up with Made by Sport to support clubs like the Cardiff Dragons to help make neighbourhoods stronger and safer through community sport. In 2023, we will continue to run the Building Stronger Communities Programme with Sported.
Learn more about the organisations we work with here.