Fifteen Asian women in east London were last month awarded FA Level 1 coaching qualifications to help tackle low levels of sporting participation among female minority ethnic groups in the London Borough of Redbridge.
The qualifications came at the culmination of a six-month project delivered by a coalition of four leading sports bodies, supported by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, the Football Association and the Black, Asian Coaches Association designed to help address persistent inequalities in sporting participation in east London.
The fifteen women were given tailored and targeted support from London Sport, Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, Muslimah Sports Association and Essex FA to develop specialist football coaching skills and to enhance their ability to represent the needs and considerations of their local communities. Facing one of the highest levels of inactivity in London, Redbridge’s higher than average concentration of Asian residents makes it a particularly interesting environment to explore the role of local community coaches in getting less active people into physical activity and sport, with this new coaching intervention the first in a range of local initiatives designed to help support more people to lead physically active lives.
Commenting on the project, Dean Nevill, London Sport’s Specialist Advisor for Workforce said:
Through working on this project, we have seen first-hand the enthusiasm that exists among local communities to play a leading role in encouraging people to live more active lives. We know that people of different backgrounds face particular and specific barriers to being physically active, but, as this project has demonstrated, by putting power into the hands of those communities, real success can be achieved.
I hope this can now be adapted as a model to support more people across the whole of London to become community champions of physical activity, and contribute to a more active London, now and in the future.
Mark Healy, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure, said:
This is a clear example of just what can be achieved through a collaborative approach. There is a worrying lack of Asian female coaches nationally and across all sports. This project has used an effective approach which can now be replicated to make a wider positive change. It is encouraging to know that 15 new Asian females are developing and inspiring their local communities, using the skills they have learned through the FA level 1 coaching course.
Yashmin Harun, Chair of Muslimah Sports Association, said:
London is such a fantastic, diverse city. It is extremely important that we understand the needs of the community to increase their participation n sports. This project was successful because all the partners involved were able to create a tailored course. MSA are very proud to have initiated such a pioneering project which has resulted in more ethnic minority female coaches. We hope through this course that Asian women feel empowered to push the boundaries and try football and other sports.
Andrew Crowl, Coaching Development Officer, Essex FA, said:
This project highlighted the successful partnerships that have been established in the local area and we look forward to supporting these individuals on their continuing coaching journey. We hope that this can be a springboard for further football participation and workforce development across our London boroughs; particularly for female participants and individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Cindia Chatha, Equality & Inclusion Officer, Essex FA, said:
As an organisationwe are constantly working towards creating a diverse workforce that represents our county. This project is one of many programmes we are delivering to engage with the wider community. The ladies on this course are not only inspiring others within their community, but are role models to the next generation of females from a BAME background.