Empowering the Local Community at BADU Sports
This week, we are spotlighting FA Charter Standard club BADU Sports, who became FA Charter Standard back in 2018. Natasha Simpson, who is their Community Lead and Project Manager, gives us an update on BADU and what the future holds for the club.
At BADU, football is part of our bread and butter. Aside from working in schools, football was the first club we started and began to implement our ethos and values through. Our mission lies within the community and we use sport as a vehicle to educate, empower and uplift people and their families. It has been our continuous aim to help our young people and the families they come from however we can, and one of the ways we first learned to do this was through football.
BADU first started the football development centre in 2014, giving training sessions to young people in Hackney to develop their skills. As we began to grow, we realised that a lot of talented players were eager to play competitively every week. In 2017, we set up BADU FC, starting with U8 and U9 teams then in 2018, BADU FC became FA Charter Standard. In doing so, we made sure that we would always have a pathway for players of all abilities to progress.
One principle we wanted to stick by was to give all players the same opportunity and focus regardless of their skill level. Every week, we continue to make sure that we are not a club who only depend and focus on players with the most talent, giving all our young players an equal opportunity to flourish. One way we do this is by giving players from our development centre the chance to train with BADU FC teams during the week to help with their improvement and give them an opportunity to experience football at a higher level. Another way we do this is by using a ‘sport with’ approach. This allows us to use football as a tool and entry point in addressing and educating our young players about wider societal issues and how we can go about changing them. Lastly, we believe it’s important to be inclusive to parents by including parents and adults within activity and alongside their children and individually. In doing so, this removes the barrier of access to childcare that many parents within our community face and enhances the wellbeing of families as a whole.
Since creating Badu Development and Badu FC, we have continued to improve every year. We have built relationships with professional clubs up and down the country. Notably, our teams have had the chance to visit and play at Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham training grounds. Two of our players have progressed onto playing for Charlton Athletic, and one of our female players to Arsenal after being scouted during their games. We also make sure our coaches have access to opportunities so they can progress. Within the past two years, Charlton Athletic has helped our coaches in improving their skills and broadening their expertise so that we are able to bring the best out of our young players. Our most recent and perhaps biggest partnership came in the summer of 2020 when BADU became an official sponsor of Norwich FC. Since then Norwich has been instrumental in providing our young players and coaches access in and around the game of football. For example, in December, three of BADU’s young leaders were tasked with giving a presentation to marketing directors at Norwich FC to broaden their junior member audience.
These are the types of opportunities we want to continue to give to those in our community. By focusing on the development of our players and coaches rather than just talent, we create the best environment for real progress to happen both on and off the pitch. That is the BADU way.
That Moment When…
That Moment When…” is an initiative organised and run by BADU to make the festive period enjoyable for the most vulnerable and at-risk families within the local community. Throughout December 2020 we ran “That Moment When…” for our third consecutive year, providing families with festive hampers. 2020 has been a year like no other, and as a result, we knew we had to give back to as many families as we could, and finish the year on a positive note!
For many of the families we work with there are many barriers and struggles such as; social isolation, food poverty, financial relief, mental health, removing barriers, single-parent families struggling with work and childcare, social challenges, temporary housing and loss of jobs. All of which have been heightened due to the pandemic. “That Moment When…” 2020 supported families from 25 schools, 19 of which are local Hackney schools. We also took 53 referrals from other organisations. Overall, we received 234 family referrals supporting 322 adults and 485 children. 182 of these families were from African, Caribbean heritage, ethnic minority communities. 57 young people volunteered their time and supported this initiative and would not have been possible without them.
You can find out more about BADU Sports via their Twitter @BaduSports, Instagram @badu_sports_ and website badusports.co.uk.
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