Inspired by the Commonwealth Games, a group of Muslim girls from Birmingham have been given the chance to try out hockey in a project which is set to be rolled out in other cities across England this season.
The project, led by England Hockey and Muslim Sports Foundation (MSF) and supported by Sport England Commonwealth Games legacy funding, aimed at increasing participation in sport among least active groups, has seen a group of 40 girls between the ages of 8 and 16 take part in free weekly hockey sessions.
Local coach Christine Dalby-Ali said: “As a Muslim myself, it’s a joy to share the sport I love with other Muslims and see the enjoyment of playing hockey on their faces every week. With the Commonwealth Games and the hockey tournament proving such a success, it’s a great opportunity to get more girls to give hockey a try.”
England Hockey and Muslim Sports Foundation jpined forces to deliver the eight-week programme. They worked with local mosques and community leaders to engage with the girls and tackle the barriers to taking part in sport faced by them.
Through its work with local communities, the Foundation has identified cultural and religious barriers alongside body image and confidence issues as well as financial barriers as reasons for low participation rates.
Many of the girls have developed a love for the sport with the programme set to continue in September due to its popularity – and as part of England Hockey’s wider Birmingham 2022 legacy programme.
Yasmin Hussain, of the Muslim Sports Foundation, said: “The initial sessions proved to be very popular with the community and we had amazing feedback from parents and girls. Sessions like these emphasise our mission which is ‘Every child, deserves every opportunity, at every sport.
“Working with England Hockey, we want to grow this even more off the back of the Commonwealth Games and give more girls from Muslim backgrounds the chance to play.”