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Sporting Equals Associate Member: Barford Tigers Hockey Club

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

Barford Tigers Hockey Club, founded in June 1966  

2. Where is your organisation based?   

Hamstead Hall Academy, Handsworth Wood, B20 1HL  

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

For the last 66 years, Barford Tigers has been offering hockey to ethnically diverse communities. A targeted programme was launched in 2019, to give better access to hockey for inner city school children. We have been taking hockey to schools that don't offer it as part of the curriculum. In addition, the club has been actively running hockey taster sessions in junior schools. The objective is to make them fall in love with the sport of hockey.  

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

Getting ethnically diverse communities to participate in sports, due to cultural reasons, access, and economics. Sport is not considered a priority and the fear is that it would adversely affect children's academic progress. We have run educational information sessions to show that sport helps in achieving success in life and professional career, university entrance, etc.  

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

The club has offered hockey to 100s of children that may have never taken up the sport. In the new programme, the club has delivered and is delivering after-school hockey to four local schools. A number of these girls and boys have joined the club and are playing competitive hockey. The club has also delivered educational seminars on healthy living, mental health, nutritional guidance, diet, university entrance, and course choices. In addition, where we have delivered taster sessions to schools outside our club's catchment area, those children have joined their local clubs.  

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

We have received funding directly from Sporting Equals, guidance and advice on funding sources, networking with other members, and learning best practice. We have gained a better awareness of challenges and opportunities to serve ethnically diverse communities. We have developed learning from clubs delivering in other sports through networks of Sporting Equals Associate partners.  

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

Absolutely, we also believe sport is a great equaliser and breaks down barriers leading to more cohesive and stable communities based on trust and respect that sport helps to build.  

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

We present role models that look and speak like the communities that we are reaching out to, this allows us to have a deep understanding, respect & celebrate differences. We also go to non-sporting organisations and develop partnerships to share our passion for sport and physical activity.  

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?   

The sports sector should invest where there is a need, and use ambassadors/role models who understand ethnically diverse communities. Targeted investment in facilities in inner city sports clubs is desperately needed. Governing bodies should be asked to keep records about the diversity of the recipients of their funds, to make sure those that need it most, get the support they need.  

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

We want ethically diverse communities to have as much opportunity of enjoying and participating in sport and thus tackle the serious health issues that these communities face.  

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

We received funding to help us overcome the lack of membership fees due to Covid. The club was able to quickly move into full operations and offer hockey to those who otherwise may have given up. We also have used the support to engage more South Asian women to give hockey a go. This has helped the club not only to maintain membership post-Covid but to grow the club.