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EDI: Club supports International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day

Club supports International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day

1 December 2023

Club News

EDI: Club supports International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day

Club supports International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day

1 December 2023

Saturday 25 November 2023 was a landmark day in the history of Carlisle United.

The day the new majority shareholders, the Piatak Family, took their place in the director’s box as owners for the first time. What an atmosphere and what a day.

Saturday was also a very important day in the club’s EDI calendar as it was ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ and ‘White Ribbon Day’. Two significant campaigns that highlight the issue of violence against women and girls and domestic abuse in general.

We held a seminar pre-match to raise awareness and discuss these issues and we were delighted that Tom and Patty Piatak were able to join us to meet everyone on the day.

We brought together several people to talk about the subject of violence against women and girls, unfortunately some of whom have the lived experience of domestic violence and abuse, but all of them are campaigning for it to stop and for today’s society to be a safe place for girls, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends and allies.

For Carlisle United, that starts at Brunton Park and we want the stadium and the area to be a safe space for women and girls to enjoy watching and playing football. 

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Carlisle United CEO Nigel Clibbens said:

“The whole day at Brunton Park on Saturday was inspiring and uplifting and we look forward to doing more work with all those involved and others.

"These are the opportunities for us to truly reach out into the Carlisle United community to help, signpost and provide opportunities to make life better for people.

"As a true community club we look to help, engage and support that community as much as we can.

"I am delighted Tom and Patty were able to come and join in and show everyone they too are committed to this work.”

For anyone wishing to help the EDI team in any of these areas please contact or call 07960 889 671.

What is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women?

In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 25 November as the day to commemorate ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’.

It is primarily to raise awareness of the fact that women still face domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and other forms of violence daily across the world, which must be highlighted and stopped.

The date specifically relates to the state sponsored assassination of the political activist Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic in 1960, ordered by the country’s dictator Rafael Trujillo.

White Ribbon Day was started in Canada in 1991 by a group of pro-feminist men after the massacre of 14 women by Marc LePine in Quebec in 1989, due to his hatred of women.

The campaign centres on the education and awareness for boys and men on the subject and the prevention of this behaviour.


Det Inspector Matt Belshaw, Lead for Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) 

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Matt Belshaw spearheads the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) project for Cumbria Police.

He joined us to explain the project and the need to protect women and girls and to call out the behaviour that can cause so much distress.

In Carlisle City Centre on Saturday evening Cumbria Police, along with assistance from Cumberland Council and the University of Cumbria, operate a Welfare Hub directly outside the Citadel Station. Here, any women in the city who are feeling vulnerable between the hours of 9pm and 2am can come to find a place of safety, to charge their phone, call for medical advice, or ask for help to find at taxi home.

Nigel Davidson, our EDI lead, visited the Welfare Hub recently and saw it in action, working closely with the bars and clubs in the city centre to identify and assist vulnerable people.

Carlisle United have joined with Cumbria Police to put our weight behind the project and are looking into what we can do at the club along similar lines to support any vulnerable members of our community and supporter base.

Contact for further information or if you have any questions relating to VAWG.

Ros Jones – Business Coach

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Ros Jones is an accomplished Business Coach based in Scarborough in North Yorkshire. She has also written a book called ‘When I was a Girl’, a depiction of a family cursed by sexual abuse and domestic abuse starting through the 1960’s and ‘70’s and beyond.

Ros talked frankly about the history of her own family and about domestic abuse as it is today and what we can do to combat this.

Joy Sayers, Domestic Abuse Survivor and Support Worker, The Well Communities

Joy Sayers gave a heartfelt description of her life leading up to the point where it could have ended and on to where she is today.

Fraught with alcoholism and domestic violence, Joy’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. She recently celebrated 1 year of complete sobriety and after her talk she was presented with her ‘Sobriety Medal’ from James Campbell of the Well Communities.

Look out for Joy’s story in more depth soon. She is one of Carlisle United’s newest supporter recruits as she and her son Harri have been coming to recent Carlisle United games and rebuilding a bond through football that had been broken for some time.


Lee McDermott, University of Cumbria EDI Officer

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Lee McDermott is the EDI Officer at the University of Cumbria. Lee spoke to us on Saturday about the ‘White Ribbon Accreditation’ which the university received in June 2022.

The White Ribbon Accreditation is quite an achievement, and the University now has an Action Plan and is part of a network of Ambassadors and Champions committing to ‘never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women’.

Lee said: “We all have a responsibility to end all forms of men’s violence against women and girls. Signing up as a White Ribbon Ambassador or Champion is a way to take personal action, holding yourself and others accountable to the White Ribbon Promise and continuing to raise awareness to actively create change”.

Lee Sherriff, ‘Behind the Mask’ Co-founder

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Lee Sherriff spoke to us about her personal journey of suffering domestic abuse at the hands of a partner. She explained how much more prevalent domestic abuse is than we may think and that it is not exclusive to women - men and women suffer domestic abuse and this can be in heterosexual, gay, lesbian and other relationships.

Lee and others who have suffered, have created a campaign called ‘Behind the Mask’, which is designed to strip off the mask off the perpetrator, who pretends to be the fine upstanding person and also the victim, restoring their original self after suffering domestic abuse where they have had to live behind a mask of deceit, hiding the true facts about their lives behind closed doors.

Look out for more from Lee and ‘Behind the Mask’ soon.

Kelly & Rachel Springfield Refuge



Kelly and Rachel joined us from the Springfield Refuge in Kendal, which has been supporting vulnerable women in the south lakes for over 100 years. We hope that they don’t need to operate for another hundred years.

Springfield supports anyone living in the South Lakeland area to live free from Domestic Abuse, offering advice, information and support. We plan to do some more work with Springfield over the coming months, so watch this space. The refuge can be contacted by calling 0808 175 7070 or emailing

Finally, a huge thanks to Carlisle United Community Sports Trust for the use of the Study Centre on Saturday, the event wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of Teresa Mulholland, Assistant manager CST.

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Nigel Davidson, Carlisle United EDI & Mental Health Officer

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