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RUCST | Engaging BME Women in Sport

27 October 2017

Rotherham United Community Sports Trust secured funding from Sport England in 2016 to work with BME communities of Rotherham and increase participation in sport.

The Back to Sport project is currently in year 2 of delivery and has worked with a total of 987 adults, 532 of these are Female. The next monitoring is due in December, these figures represent work up to June 2017.

On Wednesday 4th October 2017 we held a “Women’s Voice in Sport Conference” at the ASSEAL New York Stadium. The event aimed to inspire and motivate BME women to take up sport as well as providing a safe platform to discuss the following:

  • The barriers to accessing sport they face
  • Community and personal health concerns
  • The best times and places to put sport sessions on

Between 70 and 80 Women attended the event all from diverse backgrounds. Our guest speaker Dana Abdul Karim appeared to have the biggest impact of the day by sharing her personal journey in to professional sport and the barriers, challenges and lack of cultural understanding she faced along the way. A couple of quotes can be found below:

“I spoke to a few of the women in the room and they felt totally inspired and motivated - attending the event enabled them to believe that they too could achieve and do more (myself included!)”

“The guest speaker Dana, was wonderfully refreshing. Every woman in the room felt they could relate to her experiences. She inspired so many to believe in themselves and aim higher. There was a mad rush after her speech to get a picture with this amazing young woman! “

 Since the event we have seen a dramatic increase in attendance at our sessions with a usual week looking something like this:

Day

Sport

Women in attendance

Monday

Boxercise

15

Tuesday

Badminton

16

Tuesday

Netball

10

Wednesday

Walking Netball

18

Thursday

Circuits

8

Saturday

Netball

40

 We have also recruited two volunteers Nazia and Taseem w ho help with recruitment, registrations and session support. They have a direct connection with the communities we are targeting and are brilliant ambassadors for the project. Between them these ladies have completed Emergency first aid and safeguarding, netball coaching, Mental Health First aid, Nutrition and health Level 2 and a variety of street games qualifications including Managing challenging behaviour, engaging women and girls and multi skills.

 Some key findings from the conference that we are working on already are:

  • A lot of the ladies would like to try cricket and rounder’s- Dana Abdul Karim has agreed to deliver a summer project next year with the ladies.
  • Most of the ladies cannot ride a bike-  cycling course with pedal ready to be planned for next year leading to weekly summer cycles
  • Facilities are not culturally appropriate- Working with Rotherham Leisure centre to make their facilities more suitable (Tinted windows, female staff etc)
  • Childcare was a reoccurring issue- we are planning sessions to be at suitable times of the day and looking at provision for children alongside.

We have seen ladies increase in confidence, make new friends and take part in sport in all kinds of spaces that traditionally they wouldn’t. On Sunday 1st October we held a “Heels to Hijabs” event in Clifton Park to encourage women to participate in sport in local free spaces. The ladies played cricket, rounders and netball.

Following on from this 17 ladies took part in a first step to coaching netball course delivered by England Netball. 3 Ladies were identified as suitable to enrol on the NGB level 1 course.

Trudi Race, Inclusion Officer said “it is fantastic to see so many women have the confidence to take up sport. Some of these ladies have not played any sport since school and are now participating in 3 sessions a week. Sport should not discriminate and we are keen to make sure our sessions are accessible to all regardless of religion, culture or gender” 

If you would like to find out more information please contact Trudi Race on 01709 827767 or email trace@rotherhamunited.net.


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