Youth project win award for inspiring social change through sport in Sheffield suburb

A project set up in a Sheffield suburb to keep young men away from violent crime has won an award for their achievements in inspiring social change.Â

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 10:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 10:30 am
Members of Brothers of Burngreave

Big Brother Burngreave is run by teenagers, for teenagers, bringing together boys of all different ages and backgrounds so they can play sports, develop friendships and do something positive with their time. 

Now, the group have been recognised with the '˜Move More Power of Sport' award for their achievements in using sport to impact change within their community.

Members of Big Brother Burngreave with the Lord Mayor Magid Magid

Safiya Saeed, who has been a community development worker in Burngreave for a number of years through the Reach Up youth group, founded Big Brother Burngreave. 

She said: 'It's great for the boys, to have been nominated for our community work, what we are doing and the impact we are having. 

'We have been getting a lot support from the community because these kinds of scheme help to reduce anti social behaviour within the area.'

Members of the group wear different coloured shirts, denoting their position. For example, college students wear Red, secondary students wear blue and grey are community volunteers.

The project launched over a year ago through Sport Relief, as part of a national pilot which provided initial funding and training to help community groups set up their own projects, and then allow local people to continue running them for themselves.

Safiya visited local colleges, and through her work as a community activist went to other contacts to encourage boys to get involved.

The group initially offered basketball sessions and later introduced aspects for social change alongside the sport. 

Starting with just seven boys, the group have now grown to include around 70 boys on the books, with 20 boys turning up to each session.

Safiya Saeed, founder of Big Brother Burngreave with Lord Mayor Magid Magid who has shown support for the group.

Many of the boys are keen to break the stigma of growing up in an area like Burngreave, which can sometimes be viewed in a negative light. 

And, community leaders volunteer their time to mentor the young people to ensure they stay involved in positive activities. 

Safiya added: 'The project empowers young people to deliver their own positive activities and saw four people funded to complete their community sport leaders award, and then lead weekly activities for their peers.

Big Brother Burngreave use sport to inspire social change

'It is about paving the way for the generation behind you. Many of the boys come from a single mother household. 

'A lot are at risk of getting involved with anti-social behaviour or some vulnerable ones are recruited by drug dealers into gangs. We wanted to give them somewhere to go, and introduced aspects to bring social change once the boys started to trust us.

'It started with conversations, and finding out what is going on in the area. We offer continuous support throughout.'

The group focus on a range of topics such as youth mental health, education and equality. 

Sahal Bare, who completed his community sports leader award, said: 'We are young people with bright futures. It can sometimes feel as if there are influences on your life which are stopping your lights from shining. We need to work together to make sure we continue to shine in our community.'

Sahal, along with other youth leaders Tesfahun Awoke and Abdul Malik Onasan also complete outreach work in the area as well as promoting the positive work of the project. 

Sessions are run on Saturdays 1-3pm at the Verdon Recreation Centre, Burngreave.