Muslim Community Organisation Nottingham
Comic Relief – Sports Relief Grant

cr-cs-picBackground
Seven years ago the Muslim Community Organisation started to run activities for children during the school holidays. The multi-sport arts and craft holiday activity brought together children from various cultures and got them moving more and interacting with each other to build confidence and respect for other people differences. Originally the project was funded by the Local Authority and ran one session during the holidays. In order for children to reap the full benefits of the project it needed to run more often.

The organisation is run by a volunteer management committee. A centre co-ordinator with the help of volunteers and former users organise the holiday activities which benefit over 100 children from the local community and else where.

The Muslim Community Organisation received a grant of £3,120.00 to run multi-sports activity at a summer school for Muslim and other children. The sessions include football, dodge ball, drama games and arts and crafts which are designed specifically to get children running around, build their confidence and help them to engage with and respect each other’s differences. This project fits in with the Government’s agenda to reduce childhood obesity. It not only stimulates children to move more, it also encourages them to eat healthy and make lifestyle changes to reduce the likelihood of heart disease through high octane activity.

The Comic Relief Funding pays for 2 part-time coaches, materials for crafts, and volunteer expenses. Beneficiaries participate in drama; meet people from different cultures, exchange news and views; and enhance their social skills. Volunteers play a big role in organising activities, shopping, planning outings, and supporting children on the day trips.

Impact
Beneficiaries for this project go way beyond the users. Ben and Jhudari are the two part time coaches for the project. Ben enjoys coaching football, dodge ball and drama games. He uses the project to build the children’s confidence, engage them in positive activities and get them running around.

Jhudari the second part-time coach employed by the project with Comic Relief Funding also teaches multi-sports.  For Jhudari, the project gets these children off the streets. It provides great fun, exercise and healthy eating awareness in a safe environment. The parents also benefit because they do not have to look for child care during the holiday sessions.

Suleman a beneficiary of the project, enjoys lots of different activities. He knew Ben and was glad to have a coach that he knew. Suleman likes drama, long ball and cricket. He has fun. If it was not for the project he would just be home. His sister Aneesa enjoys sports and creative things. She plays dodge ball and gets to meet loads of friends.

“We would be home watching TV and being bored” comment Amel and Amela another brother and sister who live in the local area and take part in the holiday activities. Amela likes sports, especially dodge ball, and seeing other people. One day she hopes to be a lawyer. Amel likes meeting friends, taking part in sports, especially playing football. His is to become a footballer one day. This funding from Comic Relief helps these children to develop healthier lifestyles and more positive attitudes towards setting and achieving their life’s goals.

Although there were about 25 children on the day, over 100 children benefit from this project along with families and volunteers. Sameeena and Shifhat are volunteers that represent the type of long term beneficiaries this project aims to produce. Both volunteers had children who benefited from the project and now they are older, they come back to help out. For Sameeena and her daughter, one of the really great outcomes of the project is that they could wear their head scarf and still be accepted by every one. Such is the multicultural acceptance and interaction. They both developed confidence and skills that have helped them engaged outside of their community and Sameeena went on training courses such as safeguarding and First Aid.

Shifhat, is also excited about the way the children respect each other differences. She sums up the far reaching outcomes of the project. “We teach them about the benefits of 5 a day and how to prepare fruit kebabs and they learn to make bags and pencil cases from recycled materials.”

Shamim, another volunteer, helps to plan the project’s wide range of activities. These include education, movement, respect, table manners and making gift bags. She provides admin support to the coaches and the centre co-ordinator. Shamim says, “I am so happy to see users coming back as volunteers.”

Sustainability
The Muslim Community Organisation charges a small fee for registration and this fee will help to cover volunteer expenses and keep the activities going after the Comic relief funding. “I will just have to get applying for funding, asking for donations and organising more fundraising activities. It is the commitment of our volunteers that makes all of this possible every school holiday.”