InterFaith Week: Breaking Boundaries Impact

In honour of InterFaith week we wanted to shed a light on the amazing work of the Breaking Boundaries project which seeks to build social cohesion and community ties across faith groups and ethnic groups through the power of sport, allowing all communities to build relationships and enjoy the benefits of sport!

On the 15th September 2021 Sporting Equals in partnership with Youth Sport Trust held the Breaking Boundaries project impact event which took place at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. In honour of InterFaith week we wanted to shed a light on the amazing work of the Breaking Boundaries project which seeks to build social cohesion and community ties acorss faith groups and ethnic groups through the power of sport, allowing all communities to build relationships and enjoy the benefits of sport!

It was here, at this event that we shared details and impact from the Breaking Boundaries programme, which is funded by Spirit of 2012 and delivered by local organisations in Birmingham, Manchester, Slough, Barking & Dagenham (London) and Bradford.

The event was supported by guest speakers including:

  • Arun Kang OBE – CEO, Sporting Equals
  • Lisa McHendry – Director of Innovation and Insight, Youth Sport Trust
  • Shaheen Bi – Director of Projects, Sporting Equals
  • Jill Rutter – Head of Policy and Research, Spirit of 2012
  • Pasha Shah OBE – Head of Community Engagement, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • Issy Wong – Professional Cricket Player and Breaking Boundaries Ambassador
  • Geoff Thompson MBE – Deputy Chair, Commonwealth Games 2022

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

Funded by Spirit of 2012, the project delivery runs until 31 August 2022 and is led by the Youth Sport Trust in partnership with Sporting Equals and a consortium of organisations including Cricket Trusts and Foundations, Local Authorities and Community Organisations.

The project aims to use cricket as a tool to:

  • Improve social connectedness and attitudes to diversity
  • Increase empowerment and community voice
  • Increase community participation and sense of belonging
  • Improve partnership working
  • Improve wellbeing
  • Improve knowledge and skills to support community cohesion

During the event we reflected on the great impact that the project has generated during its delivery time which also coincided with the covid-19 pandemic. We saw the project and its young people repurpose themselves to support their local community, which in itself is a testament to the community cohesion Breaking Boundaries continually drives.

Through the current run of the project, we have recruited and trained 118 community champions, who have generated 673 hours of volunteering in their local community which led to improved social connectedness and attitudes towards diversity. We have also seen an increase in participation and a sense of belonging through the Breaking Boundaries project, as the project is live in major cities which have a range of ethnically diverse communities seeing these improvements truly reinforces the impact that Breaking Boundaries has been driving and during the event many of the speakers reflected on this.

Pasha Shah OBE – Head of Community Engagement, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG):

"Having the opportunity to both attend and speak at the Breaking Boundaries Impact event was so rewarding. Seeing the impact the project has across the country and the amazing work being undertaken by young people to connect all communities in their local area through sport shows how much power sport has as a tool for community cohesion. Breaking Boundaries is a wonderful project that is delivering key work in shaping young people with values, skills and tools to create more empathetic, aware and socially connected communities."

 

Geoff Thompson MBE – Deputy Chair, Commonwealth Games 2022:

“The Breaking Boundaries project provides a culturally enriched contribution to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games mission aim of a “Games for Everyone “. The event is equally committed to ensuring that these games are the most inclusive and diverse yet. Breaking boundaries contributes to the all important need to uniquely unite and restore community and societal cohesion. This inspirational power of sport in its social, cultural, economic and political potential to impact the countries of the Commonwealth provides a great opportunity to connect a truly sustainable and memorable 'legacy opportunity for all'. Breaking boundaries provides the ability to do just that and gives equality of purpose, diversity of participation and inclusiveness that connects and provides hope and opportunity.”
 

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012:

"Sport has an amazing ability to bring people together from different backgrounds through shared love of the game. Breaking Boundaries is harnessing that power to enable young people to help create more integrated and cohesive communities through that shared passion. Spirit of 2012 is proud to fund this important work across the 5 locations."
 

Arun Kang OBE, Chief Executive of Sporting Equals:

“We are all aware of the physical and mental health benefits of being physically active. Post the pandemic, sport has the power to play a more pivotal role in society to help us reconnect after such long stretches of isolation and loneliness. Sporting Equals is proud to continue to deliver Breaking Boundaries across five key cities and help to make more people feel a sense of belonging and civic pride within their locality. Through this project we will be able to play an instrumental role in building back social connection, cohesion and action. We hope that through this project more members of society will see the value and impact sport can have for individuals and communities alike."
 

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust:

“Sport gives people a platform to have their voice heard and a place to feel they belong. After the huge disruption to people's lives during the pandemic, the power of sport to help people to connect has never been needed more. It was great to see this event showcasing how Breaking Boundaries can make a huge and lasting difference to people's lives in these communities.”

The event generated a lot of positive discussion and there was a real synergy of the importance and value community cohesion has especially in a post pandemic world, now more than ever there needs to be a focus on connecting communities and ensuring wellbeing as well as social cohesion is prioritised. We look forward to sharing more updates regarding the Breaking Boundaries project, to stay up to date follow us on social media handles:

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