Sporting Equals Awards Blogs – Community Sports Project of the Year Sponsored by Sport England

The Community Sports Project of the Year, supported by Sport England, at the Sporting Equals Awards 2023  was one of our most competitive categories. We had an amazing array of nominations from across the country including projects engaging youth groups, archery, basketball, boxing and faith-based groups. Our three finalists were the following ; Mixed Martial Arts for Reform and Progression (MMARAP), Leicester Nirvana and our winner on the evening KRIMMZ Girls, chaired by LeaderBoard Alumni Khadija Patel. 

KRIMMZ Girls was founded in 2009 by Khadija who was only 18 at the time. Since its inception they have empowered thousands of people into reaching their full potential. A group that started off for girls only, now runs activities for all genders and ages. The group has been involved in many activities, ranging from hands-on cooking and baking lessons to grassroots sports activities such as netball, cricket, football, yoga, archery, squash, cycling, skiing, squash, and fitness classes. The group has been running for 14 years, providing 400-450 places a week. Over 10,000 people have participated in KRIMMZ activities in 2023 of which just under 8000 have been sports participants. 

KRIMMZ engages with varied participants from all backgrounds no matter their ethnicity, social or cultural backgrounds. Nominations for the group to win the award included the following feedback “I have never felt so welcomed and included in groups I have participated in before. Khadija has been actively encouraging women and girls from the ethnically diverse community of Bolton to actively take part in a whole host of sporting activities.” KRIMMZ Girls Youth Club have had very limited resources and financial constraints in the past but that didn’t stop them reaching out to the community and organise sports for the people of Bolton, who were mostly from one of the deprived wards in the borough.  

Over the years KRIMMZ has built strong relationships with many governing bodies to support their activities such as Lancashire Cricket Foundation, Snowsports England and the Football Association to continue the amazing work their volunteer coaches deliver. KRIMMZ believe in the power of sports to unite people from all walks of life. They actively promoted diversity and inclusion, ensuring that people from different backgrounds and abilities felt welcomed and supported. This approach not only enriched their abilities but also acquired widespread admiration for their commitment to social progress.  

Social media is KRIMMZ main strategy for getting the word out about their activity. They are active on all major social media platforms. As the community is close knit, they promote a lot of upcoming events inside their sessions and through word of mouth. Their volunteers have also promoted their services at community events held by the local council in the town centre at health melas and this has further been a good way for the community to learn more about KRIMMZ services. Additionally, to reach audiences who are typically not contactable through the traditional methods, KRIMMZ uses its volunteers’ networks to promote activities. This can for example include reaching out via networks formed in a mosque environment which would include more women who (rightly or wrongly) may be classed as “hard to reach”.  

KRIMMZ Girls Club has been able to develop under the support of Sporting Equals through the Girls Powered Project funded by The Sweaty Betty Foundation. Khadija now mentors newer Community Interest Companies (CICs) and community organisation managers through this programme. She shares her best practice, network and contacts, as well as her knowledge of how to support others in engaging ethnically diverse women and girls in the Greater Manchester area. 

Khadija is a qualified coach herself but more importantly she is keen to develop the participants to increase their own skills and certifications. Under Khadija, within the last year alone over 25 girls at the organisation have achieved qualifications within sports including; Junior Mountain Biking, Netball Level 1 Coaching, FA Coaching, Level 2 Cricket and Archery Coaching. All of these are people from ethnically diverse backgrounds but particularly focusing on girls provides representation and mentorship for other girls from the same backgrounds to participate in sports and physical activity.   

Khadija is always encouraging of participants to ensure that those interested progress from taking part to developing further and coaching. We are delighted to have seen that since winning the Sporting Equals Community Sports Project of the Year Award sponsored by Sport England, Khadijah has won the North West BBC Sports Personality of the Year Hero Award, find out more on this here.  

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