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Championing LGBTQ+ inclusivity in sport – meet Perth Parrots

To date, ACT has given back over £650,000 in community grants to causes nominated by Ardonagh colleagues around the world. This year, we’re on track to donate more than any previous year through our ACT Community Grant programme.

In the spirit of Pride, we’ve caught up with one of 2022’s grant recipients – Perth Parrots. Formed in 2019, the Perth Parrots are the ‘sporting wing’ of Perthshire Pride and the UK’s only LGBTQ+ floorball club (a popular Scandinavian sport in which all genders play together in mixed teams, including at a professional level).

Perth Parrots is an inclusive sports and community group based in Perth, Scotland. They look to inspire all people to get involved in sport, with LGBTQ+ inclusivity at its core. The club provides a safe space to share a collective sense of life experience and common understanding, which is particularly important in a rural setting like the area surrounding Perth.

Perth Parrots Floorball squad in their team kit
The Perth Parrots floorball team in their kit, ready for action.

One of the club’s primary objectives is to ensure members of the club, and local community, have the opportunity to come together and connect through dedicated social events. To achieve this, the club established its ‘Parrots Social’ initiative at the start of 2022 to organise a range of activities to compliment the more physical and fitness related aspirations of the team.

The grant from ACT in June 2022, enabled Perth Parrots to go full steam ahead, and in their first year have had over 20 events community-focused events – offering something for just about anyone! From indoor rock climbing to bowling, and from foot golf to hiking.  Each event is either free or subsidised to maximize participation ensuing income is not a barrier to participation.

The team is going from strength to strength in all senses. This July, Perth Parrots will be joining other athletes as part of Team Scotland for the 2023 EuroGames in Bern, Switzerland – a European multi-sport event governed by the EGLSF (European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation), and the largest multi-sport event for athletes, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation in Europe. Good luck Parrots!

Perth Parrots social group wearing outfits for a Eurovision party
In good spirits, Perth Parrots celebrate Eurovision in May.
Our Parrots Social calendar has really gathered momentum and the social team works tirelessly behind the scenes to spice things up and ensure variety. What is clear is that those participating in the sessions are unwittingly working as a collective to reduce social isolation, help form new and lasting friendships, improve their mental health and wellbeing while providing positive visible LGBTQ+ role models which help smash persisting outdated stereotypes.
Our Parrots Social Initiative allows our club to offer much more than sport to our local community and has one welcomed but unintended benefit in that it often acts as a Trojan Horse, encouraging new members to join. We’ve had a number of new members join, having first attended one of our social activities. They would clearly not have considered sport or physical activity in the first instance; however they meet club members, forge new friendships and are supported to try. I firmly believe we have created something special at the Parrots in addition to our core sport of floorball and the size and scope of our activity has been in part thanks to the generous financial support offered by ACT.
Frazer Robertson, Perth Parrots Club President
Perth Parrots social group by in a pub after a darts event
The Perth Parrots social team getting competitive at a darts night.

Perth Parrots was put forward for a grant from ACT by Towergate colleague, Duncan Scott. He came to know the charity though his son, who has been involved in it for several years, including time as Chair of Perthshire Pride. Duncan has seen firsthand the impact Perthshire Pride to support members of the LGBTQ+ community and to further allyship in the wider community too.

In the last few years my son he has personally supported people through mental health challenges and social isolation. He found that if he can get people involved in Perth Parrots, it physically and mentally puts them in a better place. I will continue to be a supportive parent, but this is also about supporting a community that is still frequently prejudiced against. This is ongoing work for us all.
Duncan Scott, Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory
Perth Parrots social group by water after a kayaking event
Members of the Perth Parrots Social Initiative spending a day on the water.
Perth Parrots Floorball squad in their team kit holding a Scottish St Andrews flag
Perth Parrots proudly holding the St Andrews flag, ready for a game.

Find out more about our grant programme on the ACT Community Grant page.