One of our Connecting Communities Officers is based at the Hamara Centre to allow us to engage with a wider section of the local community. This Project aims to engage individuals (ages 14+) and local communities in sport & physical activities such as rugby, cricket, hockey, netball, dance, aerobics and walks. This is to widen participation on all levels to increase cultural understanding and gender equality. The project aims to improve health standards by encouraging volunteering which will increase learning, and improve their life opportunities and their aspirations. In its first year, the project engaged twice the number originally envisaged, particularly many more young women.
One example of the many diverse projects and 'a first of its kind' was led by Starr Zaman, which enabled a mosque (Islamic Tarbiyah Academy) to have direct links with a local rugby league club (Dewsbury Celtic). Forty students from the voluntary faith organisation received an introduction to Rugby League from former Leeds Rugby legend, Francis Cummins. This proved very popular with everyone and sessions still continue. This project highlighted how a community club can reach out to the wider community and share learning and experience.
This project has been recognised as a 'model' of good working practice by Sport England. Further recognition was achieved when the Connecting Communities' project was nominated and shortlisted for the prestigious National Lottery Awards.