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Getting More BME Girls Hooked on Sport

Sport Wales’ Call4Action funding will enable more women and girls from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to take up gymnastics.

More women and girls from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds will now be encouraged to take up gymnastics as a sport thanks to an exciting new project funded through the Sport Wales’ Call4Action fund.

The successful funding bid was the result of partnership work between Welsh Gymnastics and equalities charity Diverse Cymru. Their joint initiative was one of 10 projects chosen from 144 applications aimed at developing participation amongst groups that traditionally have not been involved in sport.

Rhian Gibson, Welsh Gymnastics’ Chief Executive said:

“Gymnastics is a sport for everyone. We had to be proactive to engage with harder to reach groups and are therefore extremely grateful for the support and partnership of Diverse Cymru – together we made it happen”

BME women and girls have low rates of participation in gymnastics for various reasons and this project aims to change that so that they can enjoy the benefits of the sport. The project is unique because it is strictly run by women and girls, with no male coaches or spectators. It also allows mothers, siblings and other family members to spectate and get involved. Also, importantly, clothing is taken into consideration and girls are allowed to wear leggings and t-shirts along with headscarves when taking part in classes. Many of these factors may not be considered in a conventional gymnastics club and could have been reasons for previous low uptake in the sport by BME females.

This initiative follows a hugely successful pilot gymnastic project for BME girls, which was held in Mount Stuart Primary School in the Butetown area of Cardiff. Diverse Cymru and Welsh Gymnastics now want to use their different areas of expertise and build on the pilot to expand gymnastics provision for BME women and girls across the capital.

Adele Baumgardt, Vice-Chair of Sport Wales said:

“We have an unshakeable commitment to tackle inequality in Welsh sport. We know it’s not just a Welsh issue but we will not sit back and accept it because sport should be for everyone, regardless of their background. We wholeheartedly support this wonderful new project which will see more BME women and girls enjoying gymnastics.”

You can see BBC Wales’ report and video on this funding here:
http://bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-31726325