A Bradford community initiative aimed at encouraging local women and girls of South Asian origin to become more active has been awarded almost £10,000 of Sport England funding following a successful grant application from Manningham Housing Association (MHA).
‘BAME Ladies Smashing Boundaries’ is a health and wellbeing project devised by MHA to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of participants and help to prevent the development of damaging long-term conditions such as diabetes, obesity and depression.
It will be targetted at up to 120 females aged 16 or over and resident in Manningham, one of the most deprived wards in Bradford district.
MHA sought Sport England support after a volunteer-led steering group, set up to examine the viability of the project, launched a consultation exercise to discover the views of potential recruits.
The study found that, of the 75 individuals who responded, 90% said they wanted to improve their lifestyles, 85% were keen to be more physically and socially active, and 74% reported tackling stress as one of their key areas of need.
As a means of achieving these goals, 80% stated a preference to take part in women’s cricket sessions.
The Sport England award of £9,989 will be used to fund cricket equipment, coaching and other associated costs such as the hire of indoor net facilities at Manningham Sports Centre.
It is hoped that the project will get underway later in the year, subject to progress in loosening the Government’s coronavirus restrictions.
Nas Hussain, MHA’s Community Partnerships and Investment Manager who put together the grant application, said he expected a flurry of willing participants to sign-up.
He commented: “We will be working with a range of local partners – including youth groups, business organisations, mosques and GP surgeries – to help us get the message out, especially to individuals who might be socially disengaged and most likely to prosper from what we’re trying to achieve.
“As well as providing a vehicle to improve physical and mental wellbeing, those who choose to become involved with also be given a pathway into volunteering, employment and training.”
Lee Bloomfield, MHA Chief Executive, said: “We regard this as a pilot project. It all goes well, as we have every confidence that it will, we intend to seek funding from other sources to enable the benefits to be enjoyed by others in the community.
“To enhance the long-term sustainability of the project, several of the initial users will be trained as coaches and mentors to allow them to take charge of future sessions.”
Barrington Billings, Chair of the MHA Board, said: “There is no downside to becoming involved in sporting activity. It enables you to get fit, meet new people and feel good about the world around you.
“Bradford is also famous for its love of cricket. It is the perfect choice of leisure activity for women and girls in Manningham to come together, have fun and broaden their social networks.”