Chelsea FC and Chelsea Foundation are partnering with VERSUS to promote diversity behind the scenes in football through the Blue Creator Fund...

Through the club’s No To Hate campaign, Chelsea Football Club and Chelsea Foundation are partnering with VERSUS to launch the Blue Creator Fund, a fund which will give two aspiring creatives from underrepresented backgrounds up to £15,000 to produce a creative project about Chelsea and the community.

Applications close on Thursday 25 May at 5pm.

The most recent available data shows only eight per cent of those employed in the creative industry are from underrepresented backgrounds. The lack of diversity in this field is felt behind the scenes in football too, where both senior and junior creative positions are overwhelmingly held by advantageous groups. The Blue Creator Fund aims to disrupt that and establish the shared ambition of Chelsea and VERSUS to diversify football on and off the pitch.

Chelsea and VERSUS are inviting all UK-based creators from underrepresented backgrounds aged 18 to 30 with a passion for storytelling to apply for the Blue Creator Fund. Whether you are an artist, a musician, a content creator, or a playwright, Chelsea and VERSUS want you to bring the story of Chelsea and our community to life.

The two recipients of the Blue Creator Fund will not only receive funding to realise their projects, but also the opportunity to be mentored by some of Chelsea and VERSUS’ leading creative collaborators and the ability to share their final piece across VERSUS and Chelsea’s channels. The Fund will enable its recipients to deepen their craft and gain invaluable experience, exposure and opportunity for career development.

Chelsea and VERSUS have brought on five ambassadors of the Blue Creator Fund that will help the fund recipients bring their projects to life. The ambassadors are successful, established creatives working around football through a variety of mediums: storyteller Mayowa Quadri, photographer Zaineb Abelque, curator Ellis Gilbert, designer Zem Clarke and rapper Capo Lee.

Mayowa Quadri, an ambassador and head of brand at VERSUS spoke to the importance of the Blue Creator Fund:

‘VERSUS is extremely proud to be partnering with Chelsea on the Blue Creator Fund. We make it our company mission to build a better world for football – one built on inclusivity and accessibility for all – and this new project will help to do just that.

‘There’s a clear need for diversity within the creative space, but there’s also a need for opportunity. By joining forces, we hope to create real world impact that empowers people to do things they didn’t think possible.’

Chelsea’s Mason Mount, who appeared in the Fund’s launch film, lent his support to the Blue Creator Fund: ‘As footballers we showcase our creativity on the pitch so I'm proud that we are giving two young creatives the opportunity to promote their talent off the pitch too.

‘Initiatives like this fund are important to discover and empower the next generation of creatives.’

Mason’s support was echoed by Chelsea Women’s Kadeisha Buchanan: ‘The culture of football is changing and we’re living in an exciting time where players are showcasing their interests in the arts off the pitch.

‘Creativity and diversity are essential to continue this movement, two things which the Blue Creator Fund champions. I’ll be following the projects and I can’t wait to see the final products.’

Barbara Charone, trustee of the Chelsea Foundation and club director, underlined Chelsea FC’s and the Foundation’s commitment to the values the Blue Creator Fund:

‘Football has always been home to many people, voices and communities - it is a cultural melting pot that brings those from all walks of life together. Unfortunately this hasn’t always been reflected in those working behind the scenes. The Blue Creator Fund builds on the work of the club and the Foundation’s No To Hate campaign that exists to change the culture of football and diversify the game at all levels. This is a club-wide priority, felt by our players, staff and fans everywhere.

‘Chelsea FC is inextricably linked with our community and we are so excited to see how the recipients of the Blue Creator Fund bring this link to life through their projects. Good luck to all the applicants.’

Applications close on Thursday 25 May at 5pm.