Breaking Boundaries in Birmingham with Edgbaston Foundation

Breaking Boundaries is a three-year programme (2018 –2021) funded by Spirit of 2012, supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and The Institute of Community Cohesion (Icoco).

It aims to socially connect young people, their families and communities together through regular cricket engagement, fostering mutual respect and friendships by playing, spectating and volunteering.  It is being delivered in 5 cities; Bradford, Birmingham, London (Barking and Dagenham), Manchester and Slough.

We are getting to know the Edgbaston Foundation who are the new host organisation for Breaking Boundaries Birmingham.  We talked to Ravi Masih, Head of Community Engagement 

How did you get involved in Breaking Boundaries and what attracted you? 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) approached the foundations in it's major cities about undertaking a cohesion project with cricket at the core. It fit with our strategic aims to use cricket to bring people together and as it was a great fit we were delighted to take part. 

How do you support the project, what is your role?

We are the host organisation in Birmingham and employ the Community Coordinator who engages with all stakeholders, the key ones being the Community Organisations.

What would you say has been the most valuable impact or learning you have seen as a result of Breaking Boundaries? 

The opportunity to make connections with organisations that otherwise wouldn't happen. 

What do you feel your community needs more of to help people from different backgrounds mix together and create a sense of belonging?  

To make it easier for people to see the things they have in common. Take pride in the city. 

How does Breaking Boundaries play a role in that?  

Providing a platform and also a basis to build city pride against a national multi-city backdrop 

What has been your most inspirational moment in Breaking Boundaries? 

To be able to introduce young secondary aged women to inspirational leaders including Edgbaston MP Preet Gill 

What key teachings have you learned and/or delivered as part of the project? 

We have learned that it takes time to build good meaningful opportunities. Also that there are some incredible organisations doing amazing things not too far from our stadium.  

If you had to describe your experience of Breaking Boundaries in three sentences what would you say? 

Great tool to builde better relationships with local charitable organisations. 

Gives young people a voice and opportunity to interact and get out of their comfort zone. 

Gives a national focus to a very local and important societal issue to increase cohesion amongst disparate groups. 

During this period of lockdown do you have any advice you would like to share on how to maintain your wellbeing e.g. keep active/fit/well?  

Find ways to have a shared connection with others. An example of this is when staff at the stadium banded together to complete the 2.6 challenge. With many staff furloughed they found even having a shared desire to complete the challenge and sharing their stories on whats app, provided them with an important lift, but also gave others motivation to keep going and realise they are not alone. 

How is your organisation staying connected to your local community during lockdown? 

In multiple ways 

  • Creating a food sorting centre at the stadium to support the needy and giving furloughed staff the opportunity to volunteer 

  • Making calls to local residents and our older members to reduce loneliness 

  • Sharing online downloadable resources which can help young people stay entertained and educated at the same time 

  • Communicating with other charities in the area around the stadium and encouraging them to get involved in the programme. 

  • Linking in with our resident's liaison group and keeping them informed of what is happening at the stadium 

BB Birmingham

[Pictured Left to Right]  Chandni Paul, Breaking Boundaries Coordinator, Edgbaston Foundation and Helen Fernando, Foundation Development Officer, Edgbaston Foundation