UNITING COMMUNITIES THROUGH BADMINTON :
Sport is being promoted in Aston as a way of briniging communities together in a spirit of competition, achievement and mutual respect. Here, community worker Harun Raza reports on a hugely successful Badminton Championship, which attracted hundreds of local people.
Around 400 badminton players and 200 spectators supported the two-day Uniting Communities Badminton Championship last September. The event, held at the Aston Event Centre (formally known as Aston Villa Leisure Centre), was the 4th Annual Championship organised by the Bangladeshi Youth Forum (BYF) and supported by Aston Pride, which provided funding. The Championship, which comprised 22 tournaments over the two days, playing singles, doubles, and mixed events, successfully attracted a wide range of players of all abilities.
The annual badminton clash has become a popular event for all and involved local communities through consultation. It is led by a community based management committee comprising local badminton clubs and young people. Volunteers for the event came from this committee. For many people this has been the first time they have been involved in any kind of voluntary work. They all enjoyed the event and wanted to help the community to promote a sport they very much enjoyed.
Community based sport
Community based sporting events are essential in our communities, particularly in the inner cities, as sport can be used in a positive manner and made enjoyable. Aston Pride’s goal is to assist participants to gain confidence and raise personal aspirations. The Bangladeshi Youth Forum, backed by Aston Pride, achieved this as the event was seen as inspirational and encouraging to participants and the wider communities.
The aims of the tournament were to:
- Unite and strengthen the links between badminton and the community.
- Harness the game s potential as a force for good in society.
- Tackle and raise awareness of obesity.
- Promote racial integration and social participation.
- Encourage and increase participation in physical activities.
- Develop players by providing competitiveness.
- Provide information on healthy living.
- Introduce the sport to new and young enthusiasts.
This was achieved through:
- Promoting badminton to the wider communities.
- Promoting health and health products to participants and spectators.
- Using badminton to engage people from different communities and backgrounds on a social level.
- Providing extra encouragement and support to those many talented young people in Aston and Lozells; helping them to fulfill their aspirations and personal goals.
- Dieticians, health experts and a diabetes specialist working side by side to promote health as part of the tournament experience.
- Professional recruitment schemes offered by West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Crown Prosecution Service, Badminton England, South Birmingham College, and Action photography.
This year, the event had many sponsors, including Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust and Aston Pride who are keen to promote health and regeneration through sport.
We also had sponsorship and support from the National Health Service, West Midlands Fire Service, Yonex UK, K’s Sport, West Midlands Police, Crown Prosecution Service, South Birmingham College and Badminton England. Many of these organisations held stalls on the day promoting their services and distributing certificates and memorabilia gifts to the young participants. This was truly a community event with parents and people from local communities taking part.