Sporting Equals Associate Members Black History Month Blog Series: Idaraya Life CIC

As part of Black History Month we will be spotlighting today Idaraya Life CIC by speaking to Ayisatu Emore! We will highlight the work of this community organisation which delivers and drives engagement in sport and physical activity to the Black community and more!

1. What is the name of your organisation and how long have you been running for? 
Idaraya Life CIC and we've been running for a year.
2. Where is your organisation based? 
Wigan, Greater Manchester, UK
3. Have you received Comic Relief National Emergencies Trust funding? If yes how was the funding used to support service users from the Black Community?
We received funding from Comic Relief via the Global Majority Fund which was administered by the Caribbean and African Health Network. We are using it to setup the Momma's Sports Club – a weekly opportunity for women to engage in a sport activity such as Basketball, Netball and Badminton while having childcare provided so that it is removed as barrier. 
Black women seldom have local familial networks and cited having no childcare as a reason not to engage in physical activity. Our service means they can engage in activities that would otherwise be inaccessible to them for a myriad of reasons.
4. What have been the challenges you have faced in supporting the physical health and wellbeing needs of the Black community in your area? E.g. lack of resources, lack of publicity of your services and projects, a general disengagement etc. 
There is a lot of internalised racism and complexes that mean that even when activities are made available and targeted at the Black population, we have to allow time for the trust in themselves as well as the organisation to build up.
 The lack of easily accessible funds is challenging, we are trying to engage Black people in physical activity but also have bills to pay and funders seldom want to pay for the Director's to deliver services – even though in community-based work, the directors are often the people who deliver services and support too.
5. What have been the successes you have felt and seen in supporting the physical health and wellbeing needs of the Black community in your area? 
It has been amazing how much self-worth can be built from simply fostering a culture of giving yourself time to care for your health and having a community that activity encourages this. 
We have got Black women who have reconnected with old friends, started going for walks they arrange themselves or decided to learn how to swim. This has all come from giving them the space to engage with physical activity at their own pace, provided high quality information and provided empathetic support which considers their holistic experience of life. We now have a group of 15 women who are signed up to learn how to ride bikes – some of them have not riden a bike for over 30 years or never learnt!
a. If you were to name a Black sporting role model who would you pick and why? 
Jessica Ellis-Hill – as a sporting champion who went on to have a child and then return to the sport and retire as champion is something I highly respect. She prioritised her joy and wellbeing above continued competition and the 'hustle'. I find this especially inspiring as Black women often prioritise providing for the family or maintaining their career momentum - as it can be so hard to most of us to succeed. Being able to take the power she had and make her choices is something I hold on to as inspiration. She still uses her athleticism to inspire through providing ante and post-natal exercise programmes! 
6. Do you feel representation of Black athletes in elite sports make a difference to on the ground delivery? Do young people and the wider community feel more inspired and why? 
Absolutely! Seeing Black people continually succeed in track events is directly related to the continued stream of champions we see in the Black community. 
Seeing someone Black do something incredible is so valuable as it makes it easier to be encourage and have faith in your skill. Also seeing Black women helps assure Black women that they can be 'fit' too if they want as the media makes it seems like we can only look a certain way compared to the average non-Black woman and that's simply not true.
Find out more about Sporting Equals' Associate Members here.