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Sporting Equals Associate Member Mondays: Pro Touch SA

Sporting Equals spoke to Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Ash Rahman of Pro Touch SA about the great work they are doing in sport and physical activity and the benefits of being a Sporting Equals Associate Members.

1.What is the name of your organisation and when was it originally launched?  

Pro Touch SA CIC (formally known as Pro Touch Soccer Academy) was established in 2006. We just marked our 16th year anniversary.   

2. Where is your organisation based?   

Our registered office is in Camden, with an operation office located in Lambeth. However, we operate across 11 multiple London Boroughs with flagship operations in Camden, City of Westminster, Enfield, Islington, Southwark, and Lambeth.   

3. What were the primary aims your organisation wished to deliver on when launching the organisation?  

Our mission statement focuses on “access to all”.  

Pro Touch SA believes in inclusion and “access to all' and uses the power of sport to engage with young people across London boroughs.   

With the lack of and closure of many services and initiatives across the city, we have taken responsibility to provide much of the needed services around community, youth, and sport.   

Our programmes allow us to work closely with young people to not only encourage social inclusion and healthy living but workshops that tackle important issues such as drug awareness, and gang violence as well as equipping them with knowledge of financial independence and learning new skills.   

We deliver community youth and sports activities, programmes and projects across the year - running sessions in youth clubs, holiday and half-term programmes as well as sports camps and taster sessions to activities and opportunities which would normally be considered out-of-reach for most communities.   

We aim to provide healthy active lifestyle opportunities to young people and give them the best opportunity to excel in their chosen paths   

4. What have been the challenges your organisation has faced?   

Like many medium-sized organisations, we are constantly under pressure to ensure our organisation is financially sustainable where we as a CIC can continue to serve our diverse communities with a wide range of community, youth, and sports engagement.  

5. What have been successes/accomplishments of your organisation or service users?   

Pro Touch SA former and associated professional athletes:  

Currently at Professional Football Clubs in England and Europe 2021/22  
• Arthur Okonkwo - GK (First Team) at Arsenal FC & England International  
• Brian O - GK (U16s) at Arsenal FC  
• Aymen Azaze – GK (First Team) at Barnet FC,  
• Christian Saydee (U23s) at Bournemouth FC (On loan to Burton Albion FC) 
• Mohamed Eisa (First Team) at MK Don FC  
• Abobaker Eisa (First Team) at Bradford City FC  
• Calvin Ughelumba (First Team) at Glasgow Rangers FC  
• Kemal W (U15s) at Crystal Palace FC  
• Lucenzo C (U9s) at Leyton Orient FC  
• Omar Eisa (U18s)  
• Jesse A (U15s) duo at QPR FC all on either signed schoolboy, scholarship or professional contracts 

Currently at Professional County Cricket Clubs in England Luke Hollman at Middlesex County CC and England International.  

Between 2006 - 2021 PTSA developed, mentored and guided over 45 plus young "gifted and talented" athletes aged between 8-25 years old signing schoolboy, scholarship or professional contracts with professional football clubs in England. 

Awards 

  • LTA SERVES Community Tennis Project of the Year' at the annual British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs) 2020 

  • Finalist at UK Youth Inspiring Hope Awards 2021 – Inclusivity Category  

  • Finalist Community Engagement Award at Community Sport + Recreation Awards 2020  

  • Finalist Mental Health Award at Street Games UK Awards 2020 

  • Finalist Project of the Year Award at Street Games UK Awards 2020  

  • PTSA delivers community youth and sports activities, programmes and projects across 9 different London Boroughs including Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Islington and Westminster.  

  • PTSA delivers over 50+ sessions per week Monday - Sunday.  

  • PTSA has over 1800+ registered members.  

  • PTSA has successfully manage and delivered over 20 plus international football and cultural residentials in countries including Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal and North Macedonia. 
     

We have many former volunteers and staff such as coaches who have continued their career progression by some achieving their dream job such as becoming qualified teachers or for example becoming professional sports coaches working with England Men's Football Team such as Dr. Ben Rosenblatt.    

6. What benefits have you felt from becoming a Sporting Equals Associate Member?  

The continued support by accessing training, business development, funding and staff on the end of the phone to advise and mentor our organisation and its staff.    

7. Do you feel sport can be used to connect people?   

Sport is far by the biggest strength in bringing diverse and social groups together, building and creating positive engagement. And as an organisation, that thrives on this message we have lived experiences in this area for over 16 years.   

Our staff and volunteers cultural background represents our communities for example Bangladeshi, Somalian, Romanian, Russian, Kosovan etc. using once again sport, which has connected us all.      

8. Ethnically diverse communities have a history of disengagement in sport how do you work to engage ethnically diverse service users in your organisation?   

100%, we thrive in creating opportunities and platforms where everyone can be given access to the same opportunities within a sporting platform. Having engaged for many years, and seeing more opportunities made available makes our organisation extremely proud of how far we have come as a CIC.   

9. What more should the sport sector be doing to engage with community organisations more effectively to help achieve equitable sport, health and wellbeing outcomes for ethnically diverse communities?  

We feel more continued support and mentorship, are required as everyone is a different path, and everyone's needs are different to one another. Funding and key job opportunities at the senior level shouldn't be often based on qualifications but experiences are equally important.  

10. What are the long-term ambitions for your organisation and how will this benefit ethnically diverse service users?  

We are dreaming about owning/leasing our own community space be it sports facilities or community centre that we can call our home. Build further strong bonds with our communities and support, mentor, and grow those around us. Investing in the next generation of future leaders, by investing in young people.   

11 . If you have received funding, what has been the development of the funding?  

The funding we have received has enabled us to continue delivering the much-needed services to our hardship and disadvantaged ethnic communities within a physical health and sports setting. This has supported children, young people, and their families to overcome any mental, physical, and wellbeing health issues by engaging in our wide range of services.     

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Flipagram, YouTube @protouchsa   

Pro Touch SA Community Interest Company. Registered in England and Wales No. 10675065  

We are affiliated and associated members with London Youth, Middlesex FA, Sported UK, Street Games UK, Sport & Recreation Alliance, Sporting Equals and UK Youth.   

We've successfully secured accreditation from FA Charter Standard, Camden Active and Active Westminster Marks.   

Find out more about Sporting Equals' Associate Members here.