Leeds Beckett study shows barriers remain to BME communities participating in sport and physical activity
6 October 2015 - Mark Dorey
A study undertaken by researchers at Leeds Beckett University has revealed that people from Black and other Minority Ethnic (BME) communities still face barriers to participating in sport.
The research was commissioned by Sport Wales, who are calling for the Welsh sporting sector to join it in stepping up to the plate to tackle inequality in sport.
The study shows that there is still some way to go before sport in Wales is truly inclusive for BME communities. It recommends a need for practitioners and policy makers to better understand the needs of these communities so that more inclusive spaces and activities can be created. The researchers also suggest that finding and supporting those key people capable of inspiring others in their communities to participate by making use of already established networks and working alongside them to co-produce opportunities that fit the needs of BME communities, can all be used to promote positive action for change.
Speaking about the report, Professor Jonathan Long, who led the research team in the Institute of Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure at Leeds Beckett, said: “The research aimed to provide greater insight into the underlying reasons for ethnic disparities in sports participation and a richer understanding of the daily lives, circumstances and experiences of those from minority ethnic communities. Based upon these findings Sport Wales have produced a report which provides recommendations for increasing and sustaining participation.”
Sarah Powell, Chief Executive of Sport Wales, added: "Sport should be for all - we all have the right to access opportunities to get involved and stay active and healthy, regardless of our backgrounds. There are some excellent examples where sports have worked hard to break down barriers with positive results, but sadly it's clear there are still those who feel they cannot access sport or have no place within it. This needs to change. Sport in Wales will not continue to grow unless we make it more inclusive.
"At Sport Wales we pride ourselves on taking insightful and evidence-led action to make a real difference, and now that we have heard the voices of these communities, we can begin to look at how the sporting sector as a whole can use it to inspire new ways of thinking around engaging more people from BME communities."
Sport Wales is currently consulting on a new set of equality objectives for 2016-2020. The findings of the consultation will not only help to shape Sport Wales's equality work for the future but will also inform the development of a framework that will set out an approach for working with BME Communities to increase participation in sport. This work is being led by the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).