Samira with some of the girls and instructors from Mount Stuart Primary School
Diverse Cymru works with Welsh Gymnastics to promote the sport to more young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) girls in Cardiff
In 2014 Welsh Gymnastics recognised that whilst their membership was growing, this increase was primarily from similar communities to their current members. In order to diversify their sport Rhian Gibson called Diverse Cymru for advice, with a working partnership following soon thereafter. This led to the joint project being awarded funding from Sports Wales Call4Action in early 2015 to consolidate the project and to spread its influence.
After discussion with Mount Stuart Primary School in Cardiff, Welsh Gymnastics and Diverse Cymru believed that many young BME women, especially from Muslim families, were uncomfortable with the usual leotard dress code and the potential of male coaches and observers.
The pilot project prominently advertised that the group could wear leggings and t-shirts, as well as head scarves. The participants’ Mothers and other female family members were encouraged to watch and even join in to assist the coaches, who were all highly-qualified women. These simple steps meant the project met its participation targets in the first session, with the capacity quickly being increased in order to meet demand.
We now have a part-time worker whose remit is to extend the project across Cardiff to ensure as many young BME girls as possible can get into sports earlier, even if they decide that gymnastics is not for them. We hope to influence other sports bodies into thinking about how they can increase their membership into new communities.
As of June 2016, the club have renamed themselves Fantastic Gymnastics!
To find out more about our partnership with Welsh Gymnastics or if you’re interested in setting up an inclusive sports club near you, please contact Samira Salter at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 029 2036 8888
The project was visited by Leslie Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.