FOOTBALLER Clarke Carlisle used his own life story to champion the fight for equality as he launched a new vision for making York a “fairer city”.

The anti-racism campaigner and Professional Footballers Association chairman, who recently left York City, was the guest speaker at the unveiling of the York Equality Scheme – A Fairer York, outlining City of York Council’s plan for ensuring the city is a “welcoming and inclusive” place.

The scheme covers how issues such as wage inequality, child poverty, unemployment and homelessness will be addressed, in collaboration with other organisations, businesses and groups, with progress monitored annually.

Highlighting the poverty of his childhood, the prejudice his parents suffered and his battles with depression and alcoholism, Mr Carlisle said: “The goal is total inclusion and this is the biggest step towards achieving that for many years.

“The key to equality is respect, and when you respect that everybody is entitled to their decisions, beliefs, choices and opportunities, that is when we will see equality in action in our communities.

“York is putting its actions where its mouth is, something I want to see repeated around the country.”

The scheme includes enshrining equality within the council. Coun Sonja Crisp, whose cabinet portfolio it falls within, said: “It sets out our ambition to ensure everybody in York has a say and developing a society where everybody can meet their potential.”