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Barking Al Madina Centre wins Connecting Communities Award

Emdad Rahman

THE BARKING Al Madina Centre has won recognition for its fantastic community work by winning the 2017 Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award at this year’s Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs). The prestigious award came about as a result of the volunteers at the centre connecting the local diverse communities through a commendable sports programme.

Barking Al Madina Mosque is open to people of all faiths and the team was presented with its award at the BEDSAs by Spirit of 2012 Chief Executive Debbie Lye and Olympic Gold medal-winning rower Mohamed Sbihi.

Ashfaq Siddique, who created the Al Madina Sports Programme, said: “To win the Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award is enormously humbling. To win it knowing we led the public and judges’ vote is confirmation we are doing it right.

“We reach out to and engage with nearly 400 youngsters weekly through our sports programme and if we are in the smallest way contributing to improving their lives through the sport or the social interaction then we are serving a very worthy purpose.

“Grassroots organisations such as Al Madina rarely receive the recognition deserved, so I congratulate Sporting Equals and all the sponsors for recognising our work and we hope this will be the beginning of a fruitful and lasting partnership. Most of all, I want to highlight to all volunteer grassroots organisations that everything is possible so do not limit yourselves and aim to excel in all you do.”

Debbie Lye, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012, explained: “We’re proud to be sponsoring the Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award. Spirit was founded to continue and recreate the joyful spirit of social connectedness that people experienced during the London 2012 Games. It’s so important to carry forward that celebration of our national diversity into the future, and this award is a great symbol of that.”

Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership & Engagement. added: “I want to offer huge congratulations to the Al Madina Centre. This is an award which recognises organisations, individuals and projects which have had a significant impact on bringing local communities together through sport or physical activity.”

The BEDSAs are a celebration of sporting excellence within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and the Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award is recognition for projects, organisations and individuals who use sport as a medium to unite and bring communities together. Sponsored by Lycamobile, the world’s largest mobile virtual network operator, the awards are leading the way in recognising and celebrating sporting excellence within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

The Barking Mosque runs a sports programme offering a wide range of opportunities for people of all ages and from all groups within Barking & Dagenham. They reach out to and engage with nearly 400 young people every week, and know that sport is a wonderful way to empower communities, break down barriers and bridge divides.

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