Stoke-on-Trent community interest company, Engage Communities, led by community development expert Yaser Mir, is urging local people to help to give Stoke kids a sporting chance at a better future.

The organisation has been shortlisted for funding from the Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund and the funding will be awarded to the charity that generates the most votes.

Engage Communities is seeking the funding to kick-start its Round House project which is designed to help young people to develop skills and qualifications in Olympic sports like Taekwondo or Boxing. Yaser comments; “Sport has an enormous capacity to make a positive difference in people’s lives. It provides young people with a constructive way of letting off steam and teaches them about discipline, perseverance, hard work and respect for others. These are all skills that will be incredibly beneficial to them in all areas of their lives.”

The Round House project will train local people in Taekwondo and Boxing in community locations across Stoke-on-Trent. The classes will be offered at minimal cost, so any young person who is interested in taking part will be able to come along. All the specialist kit will be provided which will be welcome news for parents, particularly at the moment whilst many families are struggling to make ends meet.

But there’s more to the programme than just sport. The young participants will also benefit from a mentor to help fuel their personal development. Yaser’s team has a varied portfolio of skills and can signpost young people to other specialists if they have issues relating to drugs, alcohol or problems at home. Yaser adds; “They’ll also gain an ASDAN qualification, the equivalent of a GCSE, so the project will help boost their self-esteem as well as giving young people something to put on their CVs. Some young people can even go on to become qualified coaches, giving them the chance to develop their own business at a time when career opportunities are thin on the ground.”

The organisation will also be working with sported. the UK’s leading sport for development charity, established by Sir Keith Mills, Chief Executive of the 2012 Olympic bid team and Deputy Chairman of LOCOG. As well as offering funding support to Engage Communities, sported. will provide business mentoring support through local advertising agency Director, Amanda McDonald. Amanda comments “I’m really excited to be involved with Engage Communities. At Yes Agency we’re passionate about learning about how communities operate so this is a real meeting of minds. I have been incredibly impressed by Yaser’s vision. I’m hoping that together we can turn this into a reality for the benefit of Stoke’s young people.”

So what can people do to help? Yaser is looking to fellow Stoke people and people interested across the West Midlands to vote for Engage Communities by visiting http://tinyurl.com/d2rjs6n. “We want to give our kids a sporting chance in life. There’s lots of talent in Stoke-on-Trent and we want to help to foster it. Who knows? We may even find a future Olympian or the next Amir Khan…”

For further information call Yaser Mir on 07510 857563.

Editor’s note: Engage Communities is a Community Interest Company committed to empowering and developing socially excluded and disadvantaged members of communities. The organisation offers a specialist Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic service. Sport England Active People Survey results indicate that adult participation in Stoke is 14.1% − significantly lower than the national average of 20%. Sports participation amongst non-white groups in Stoke is even lower at just 10.4%.


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