Preston North End Community and Education Trust have opened a multi-faith prayer room to allow supporters of all faiths and backgrounds to pray on home matchdays.
The prayer room is situated between blocks E and F on the Invicibles Pavilion and was unveiled for use for the first time ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Derby County.
The Mayor of Preston, Javed Iqbal, was present for the unveiling, as part of the club’s Kick It Out matchday activities to promote equality for everyone involved in football – fans, players and staff, alike.
Supporters in attendance on a home matchday whose ticket is not for the Invicibles Pavilion will be able to access the prayer room by contacting their nearest steward, who will escort supporters to the prayer room every 15 minutes.
The prayer room will be open from 90 minutes before kick-off, when the concourses open, through until full-time – allowing those who need to pray at certain times of the day to leave their seat during the game if necessary.
Mo Patel – a practising Muslim supporter who volunteered on PNECET’s Ramadan initiative earlier in the year, and has since progressed to the role of casual Community Engagement Coordinator with the Trust – praised the initiative to open a prayer room.
He said: “Some supporters may have had to make a decision between choosing to pray and attending a match during certain parts of the season, due to the different times that their religion may determine that they need to pray.
“We believe that supporters of all faiths should not have to make that decision and we want to continue to break down all barriers that may prevent any of our existing fans from attending matches at Deepdale, while also encouraging members of our local community to show their support for PNE.
“The opening of the prayer room is another step in our continued work with ethnically diverse members of our community and we will continue to strive to make positive changes to make Deepdale the most welcoming and inclusive place as it possibly can be for all fans.”
Mayor of Preston, Javed Iqbal, added: “It’s an absolute pleasure and delight to open this multi-faith prayer room.
“I hope people will use it and it will help to bring more and more people to North End.”
As part of our Kick It Out matchday on Saturday, we welcomed Preston United Youth Development programme participants and their parents to watch the game against Derby County and take part in our half-time penalty shoot out.
Speaking about attending the game, a member of the parents’ group said: “It was an exhilarating experience, I really enjoyed it.
“I was really apprehensive at first but honestly I had a brilliant time. I was conscious about my headscarf but it wasn’t noticed and I’m definitely coming again.”
The Mayor of Preston and Mo Patel were first to use the prayer room on Saturday after its opening.
For more information about the prayer room, please contact email@example.com.