A new project, BME Sport Cymru, has received £540,000 of funding from Sport Wales to help combat racism and discrimination in sport.
The campaign aims to improve access to sport for black and ethnic minority (BME) groups across Wales. The organisers have set up four main projects in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and North Wales to help tackle the problem.
It follows a survey by Sports Wales which shows fewer BME children engage with sport in school compared to white children, and that gap is widening. The project manager for BME Sport Cymru, Rajma Begum says, ‘Cardiff has a 20% BME population, that is almost 1 in 5 people and sadly it is not currently represented in the sport sector, in their participation, staffing or board’.
She says Maindy Centre in Cardiff has already seen an increase in participation from BME communities after they started running women only sessions three times a week. The centre installed blinds and trained female life guards and have since found sessions are over subscribed. Rajma Begum says, ‘Muslim women may not want to exercise in a mixed environment so it is important facilities offer these women only sessions’.
The project will work directly with leisure centres in Cardiff to train their staff and ensure they are more culturally aware. They will also invest in developing a pool of coaches who can educate people on the health benefits of sport and physical activity if it is to have a long term impact.
The project launches at Butetown Youth Pavillion on Wednesday 9th November at 9am.