Project: Provide sport activities to improve the physical health of members of the BAME community
Fund: Moving Our Community
The Karima Foundation is a charity offering community development through a range of activities, workshops, and classes. The charity was founded in 1998 and since then has grown to a family of over 70 volunteers. It has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the lives of thousands living in High Wycombe and the surrounding area. The charity delivers a diverse range of projects for its beneficiaries including; supplementary schools and adult learning, a public community library, youth clubs, sports and much more.
With support from Heart of Bucks, the Karima Foundation was able to fund several projects including; men’s and women’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu, men’s yoga, football, and cricket sessions. Unfortunately, many of the sports had negative stigmas among the BAME community attached to them. Part of the charity’s ongoing work is to break many of the preconceived stigmas and instead highlight the countless health benefits participating in sport has. When they opened up their jiu-jitsu classes to females it took over two years to break down the stigmas and for it to become a success, however the class is now oversubscribed with many women enjoying both the physical and mental benefits.
The Foundation previously identified the signup cost (including kit/uniforms) had acted as a barrier to entry for many people. This left those from low socio-economic groups unable to participate in the activities which in turn contributed to their poor physical health. The grant from Heart of Bucks allowed the charity to heavily subsidise the cost of participation for men and women to take part in a number of different sports.
The grant also enabled beneficiaries from at-risk groups to participate in sport activities for free. Many of these groups included recent immigrants not entitled to public funds, single parents struggling to pay bills and those currently unemployed. These groups had no prior knowledge of activities such as yoga and jiu-jitsu and were given the opportunity to try them free of charge and would not have had this opportunity otherwise.
The charity provided a safe environment for young adults who were at risk of offending, involved in anti-social behaviour or were unemployed at the time. The ability to participate in team sports had a multitude of benefits for the individual and their community. For many young adults, the opportunity to mix with more experienced adults resulted in informal mentoring and guidance. Not only would this have provided motivation, but it also kept them out of trouble. The charity also provided further mentorship separate from the sport as volunteers were always on hand to give advice and guidance to help the young adults navigate into adulthood. This greatly benefitted the cohesion within the local community, making it a safer, more pleasurable environment for all.
The Karima Foundation ran weekly sessions for each sport allowing them to support over 180 beneficiaries primarily from BAME groups and those from lower socio-economic groups.