RBS Sport for You: a worthwhile goal for the girls

By Gareth A Davies

RBS Sport for You: a worthwhile job for the girls -Samantha Harding and the women of Chalkhill Wanderers FC show off their fancy footwork
Tackling the issue: Samantha Harding and the women of Chalkhill Wanderers FC show off their fancy footwork  Photo: Philip Hollis

Given that many of these women are Somali in origin, some asylum seekers, or the children of those who fled that African country seeking sanctuary, this development comes with its own set of complications.
The club was this month awarded an RBS Sport for You grant of £1,000, and, backed by sports project officers from the Metropolitan Housing Trust, they are attempting to empower themselves and their community through sport.
When it involves Muslim women, there may be boundaries to cross – in dress code for sports, for example, or taking part in public places.
And turning out on a football pitch could be a step into the unknown.
Chalkhill Estate, in Brent, is made up of more than one thousand properties, mainly houses rather than high–rise flats, and sits within the Barnhill ward. Many residents are Muslim. Anissa Nahili, chair of Al–Bahdja Community Group, explains about the mix of women who want to become the "new" team within the already established Chalkhill Wanderers Football Club: "Teenage girls can be very selfconscious, and this prevents them from taking part in mixed activities. Also, in the
Muslim community, girls have very little opportunity to participate in sports due to religious or cultural restrictions. Yet girls–only sports are popular, and of great benefit to the participants."
Chalkhill Wanderers FC provides a weekly football programme for participants from eight–year–olds to men's seniors. It has 60 members.
"Seventy per cent of these participants are asylum seekers and these sessions help them to adapt – culturally and in terms of the language barrier – into the local community via football," says Samantha Harding, a sports project officer with Metropolitan Housing Trust London (MHT London).
In partnership with MHT London, Chalkhill Wanderers provides football-inspired training to young people up to the age of 25: three members of the men's team have already successfully completed the Level 1 FA coaching course, helping to sustain the project long term.
According to Ms Harding, the hope is that by widening the club to women's and girls' football teams, "more community cohesion will be created across the board and across local cultures".
World champion boxer Amir Khan, a British Muslim whose parents are originally from Pakistan, agrees: "I think it's a great idea to encourage more Muslim women into team sports. It helps foster friendships and brings communities together. It can only be a good thing."
The Bike Shed, Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton Bike Shed is a community–based, voluntary organisation that promotes healthy lifestyles related to biking activities. "We repair and recycle bikes free of charge, accepting donations of old bikes," explained Joe Maggs.
"A number of youths come to The Bike Shed who enjoy biking but have restricted opportunity for adventurous active biking locally."
Under the instruction of staff, club members will make their own polo bikes – from recycled parts – and then train and play together in a local league.
"The grant will go towards tools, spares, bike polo equipment, safety equipment and kit for the team and the league," added Mr Maggs.
Special Sports Club, Leamington Spa
The Special Sports Club, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, allows children with Down's syndrome and their siblings – from Warwickshire, Coventry, Leicestershire and Gloucestershire – to enjoy a range of sporting activities. "There are no opportunities for our children to participate in sporting activities that meet their needs on a regular basis," explained Nicola Enoch.
"The children play multi sports which teach and encourage basic social skills, and more typical sports–related skills, such as throwing, catching, kicking and running. We are introducing mini–football sessions for the children, too."
The RBS Sport for You grant will ensure the group runs every fortnight for an entire year – even during the school holidays.
Sports–for–Youth CIC, Newcastle
The Sports–for–Youth CIC Saturday Project is aimed at young people living in the west end of Newcastle, covering Benwell and Scotswood, Elswick, Westgate and Wingrove wards.
"The young people living in these areas have limited opportunities to take part in these types of activity," says Mr Bee Adeyeba. "The main objectives of the football development sessions are to actively engage young people in positive activities that they enjoy to give them an opportunity not to get involved in anti–social behaviour.
"We are also keen to promote healthy lifestyles among our young people, and to increase social integration in a range of ethnic communities that live in the west end of Newcastle."
Roborough Cricket Club, Devon
Roborough Cricket Club amalgamated with Plymouth Civil Service CC in December 2010. The latter, having lost their ground in 2008, were forced to play their home games 28 miles outside the city, while Roborough was struggling to attract new players and volunteers.
"We want to develop a vibrant club in the north of Plymouth and start up a new Colts section which will be the lifeblood of the club for years to come," says David Bayliss. "The ground needs a lot of care and attention to make it attractive as a community facility. It has suffered from vandalism and a lack of maintenance, subsequently falling into a state of disrepair."
The RBS Sport for You grant of £1,000 will be used to help upgrade thepavilion, which needs new windows, new security shutters, a newkitchen, new flooring, new toilet facilities, and completeredecoration.
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/amateur/8657037/RBS-Sport-for-You-a-worthwhile-goal-for-the-girls.html