Our team here at All Ways Network were delighted to attend the Active Sunnah Conference on Wed 13th September 2023. The event was hosted by the Muslim Sports Foundation (MSF) which is a national charity with aims to provide safe spaces of practice for physical activity, sport, and wellbeing to Muslim communities across the nation. The statistics showed the need for such an organisation as the Muslim community is amongst the least active.
The event was well attended with community groups, National Governing Bodies, funders and infrastructure groups present to learn more about Muslim achievement in the sector as well as the challenges and barriers they are facing. It was held at the Muath Trust in Birmingham and its Chair Rawaad Mahyub kick started the event with a challenging question: How much of the funding is trickling down to minority communities?
Muhammad Abdullah Ali from Muslim Sports Foundation provided some stark insights into the challenges facing the Muslim community. The community is the least active faith group with 42% reporting they are active for less than 30 minutes each week. 56% of women are inactive and with the growth in the numbers of Muslims in the UK, in light of these findings the current picture clearly showed that resources were not being equally distributed.
Muslim Women & Sport
MSF have been trying to change the narrative around women and sports and some of their achievements were the upskilling of 60 female volunteers and a further 32 upskilled as level 1 coaches. There was also an inspiring women's panel where some of the trailblazers from the community talked about funding challenges such as only being provided small pots of money, funding running dry after short pilot projects as well as the need to recognise and offer capacity funding for organisations. Some of the other challenges MSF were seeing on the ground were:
Socio-economic barriers are bigger than cultural barriers.
The South Asian Muslim narrative needs changing as it no longer fits the British Muslim identity.
Mosques are interested in doing more, but MSF lack capacity and resources to currently cater for the demand.
Governance is often a major barrier when trying to start projects.
There were messages throughout from Sport England with Vivien Taylor informing us of the new Sport England strategy and some positive news on the horizon with 25% of investment to go to some of the more deprived parts of the country. To find out more about MSF visit their website here - https://muslimsportsfoundation.org.uk/
Blog Post by Rashid Hussain, Funder and Charity Lead at All Ways Network. He can be contacted via email on email@example.com