WBA sign up Sporting Equals
Albion players present and past - James Morrison and Brendon Batson were quizzed by local youngsters as West Bromwich Albion announced plans to enhance their work in the local community.
At the event, The Albion Foundation officially launched a new partnership with Sporting Equals, the national body which promotes ethnic diversity across sport and physical activity.
To mark the launch, current Baggies midfielder James fielded questions from attendees of Albion Foundation projects alongside the Club’s former right-back Brendon, the Chair of Sporting Equals.
The Albion Foundation has become renowned for the equality work it carries out throughout the year at schools and community groups in Sandwell and surrounding areas, which is supported by the Club’s players.
But Albion Foundation Director Rob Lake believes the partnership with Sporting Equals will take this work onto another level.
“We are delighted to have joined forces with Sporting Equals,” said Rob.
“We believe they will provide expertise and guidance to enhance our already successful work within our local minority communities and among our fan base.
“This partnership will help us to learn more about the different cultures on our doorstep with a view to engaging them through our education and sports programmes, which will in turn help the growth of the football club.
“Sporting Equals will also focus on the development of our staff, running workshops with them to help improve their understanding of the different communities we’re engaging.”
Brendon said: “At Sporting Equals, we aim to increase participation among all communities- particularly in sport and physical activity.
The Club and Foundation do a fantastic job, but we’ll help them identify different ethnic communities within the catchment area and train their staff on equality issues and help them engage with even more sections of the community.”
Arun Kang, Chief Executive of Sporting Equals, added: “West Bromwich Albion are already a beacon of inclusion in the football world, committed to building local support and opportunity.
“They nonetheless recognise that they can offer more through the emotive power of sport and their existing outreach programmes.
“Our partnership will focus on three key areas – firstly to provide better understanding of local communities’ needs and aspirations, secondly to reach out to all local communities and thirdly to equip the Foundation’s workforce with the necessary tools to empower local people and ensure the Club are relevant to all the communities.”
West Bromwich Albion’s Chief Executive, Mark Jenkins, added: “We, as a club, have a rich history of being at the forefront of promoting equality and inclusion, dating back to Brendon’s time at the club when he, Cyrille Regis and the late Laurie Cunningham were fondly labelled ‘The Three Degrees’.
“We have as many as 18 different countries represented within our playing squad and we are based in a multi-racial area, so the work that the Foundation conducts in the local community on behalf of the football club, which will be enhanced by this partnership, is absolutely vital.”