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Above - Fans' Embassy volunteers Luke Cox and Chloe Atkins

Free Lionesses and the Euros

It’s been a great Euros so far and, ahead of tonight’s England v Sweden clash at Bramall Lane, we catch up with a few of our Fans’ Embassy volunteers (below) to hear how it’s been in and around the stadiums on matchdays.

For those who don’t already know, the team have been on-the-ground running our Fans’ Embassy service, handing out our Free Lionesses fanzine and generally working hard helping supporters on matchdays.

Chloe Atkins (Fans’ Embassy volunteer)

As the final games of the tournament approach, it’s only now that I can truly reflect on my experience with the Free Lionesses and FSA. It’s allowed me to fully immerse myself into the Euros and everything it has to offer – from taking me to two new cities, Brighton & Southampton, to meeting some amazing people and strengthening my love for the Lionesses! 

It was amazing to see how welcoming and kind all the fans were and how everyone comes together despite their own differences. A notable moment for me was a fan who mentioned he was alone, after a chat with him we helped him get involved within the group and as we were packing up he was getting more drinks to sit and chat with the other fans and new people he had just met. It was a rewarding feeling to know that you helped make a positive impact on someone’s day especially during an event like a home Euros. Come on England!

Deborah Dilworth (Fans’ Embassy coordinator)

I have been lucky enough to have an incredible group of volunteers with me in each location of our activity. From Iona, Jo from Liverpool WSC, Rach from The Gang and Julie from Everton WSC in Manchester to Chloe, Luke and Richard in Brighton and Ashley in Southampton. Everyone has put a shift in to answer supporters’ questions and give out our guidebook and #ShareYourRoar scarves. To get to the semi-finals and gather England fans together pre-match will be another special occasion following on from Lyon in 2019.

Iona Glidden (Fans’ Embassy volunteer)

The atmosphere of this tournament is hard to capture in words. There’s a feeling radiating from every host city, stadium and fan park; a brighter, lighter feeling. Pride, passion, hope. I’ve seen fans of all generations, ethnicities, genders, backgrounds coming together to celebrate the game and support their team.  

As a volunteer for Free Lionesses I had the opportunity to spend the opening day of the Euros in the Manchester fan park – there’s a small five-a-side pitch, a family friendly deck with face-painting and table football, and a beer garden with big screens to watch the tantalising games. I’ve since found myself down there near enough every night. A place to meet up with friends, to enjoy the games surrounded by fans from across Europe.

Tonight my eyes, like many across the nation, will turn to a sold out Bramall Lane. Free Lionesses will, once again, be out in force offering fan support and ensuring everyone has a positive and memorable experience. I’m excited to be back amongst it. Meeting fans from across the world and hearing their stories, their love for the game and their ambitions for football. When you see the droves of fans walking to stadiums, queuing up to enter fan parks, tuning in to watch the games, the speed of ticket sales – women’s football is here. It’s on the biggest stage, being watched by millions and it’s here to stay.

Richard Irving (FSA staff)

This is my first experience of a home Lionesses tournament, having been at the previous two international tournaments in France and the Netherlands. The atmosphere around the country has been great and now, with the Lionesses doing so well, there’s a real sense of excitement building.

The first game at Brighton, against Norway, saw me initially at the FSA table at the Fan Park in Victoria Gardens with my fellow volunteer, Chloe. The park seemed to be dominated by our friends from across the North Sea so evangelising about the FSA’s work was limited to ambushing individuals wearing England shirts while being subjected to the sounds of the nearby main stage including, I kid you not, a hearty rendition of Norway’s 1979 Eurovision Song Contest entry performed by its actual writer.

After such excitement the move to the Fans’ Embassy at the Tempest Inn on Brighton seafront was always going to have to go some to better the atmosphere but, with fans from all over the country joining the throng, and Twitter handing out scarves and filming as they went, it proved to be a perfect late afternoon combination of handing out copies of Free Lionesses and chatting to as many people as we could. And as for the game, well, what can I say?

 

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball