Shapla Sports Initiative beat tough competition to win the Tennis Foundation Special Recognition Award at the Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs) last weekend.
The awards, which took place on Saturday 18th March at London Hilton Park Lane Hotel, celebrated sporting excellence within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. The Special Recognition Award this year focused on those who have been involved in the Tennis Foundation’s SERVES Programme, which aims to work with communities to design programmes of tennis activity that accurately reflects localised circumstances and needs.
Shapla Sports won this year’s Tennis Foundation award following their dedicated work in the Manningham area of Bradford. They beat off competition from fellow nominees The Dery Foundation (Birmingham), faith centre Khizra Mosque (Manchester) and the North London Muslim Community Centre (Hackney), to claim the award.
Upon receipt of their award, Humayun Islam, from Shapla Sports, said: “Shapla Sports Initiative is humbled and proud to receive the Tennis Foundation Special Recognition award. It is unbelievable to get national recognition for tennis within the community!
“The BEDSA award gives us more momentum to continue the SERVES programme at BEAP Sports Centre Bradford. Thank you everyone at Tennis Foundation and Sporting Equals for their ongoing support and guidance. Thanks to the young people who make this project possible. We are proud to represent Bradford and let’s continue to inspire!”
Tennis Foundation Executive Director Geoff Newton presented the Award to Humayun Islam, alongside Heather Knight, England women’s cricket captain and Harleen Kaur, GB Taekwondo player.
Mike Bain, Director of Community Tennis at the Tennis Foundation, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting the BEDSAs for the second year running. We have been working in partnership with Sporting Equals to get more people from black and ethnic minorities into sport and to take tennis into communities who would never have before had the opportunity to play and our SERVES programme is a huge part of that.”
Shapla was an initiative created to help the Bangladeshi community in their area to get involved in sport, by providing them with opportunities for development in a number of different activities.
Following the recent success of Shapla FC, the project focused on diversifying the sports on offer. Nine volunteers from Shapla undertook the Tennis Activator Course, allowing the initiative to deliver sessions within the community on a weekly basis.
Situated at the heart of the community, Shapla is based at the Bangladeshi Educations Achievement Project Centre (BEAP), in an area with one of the highest BAME populations in the UK. The BEAP offers a range of services for the community, and has been incredibly beneficial in allowing Shapla to deliver sport to the community.
The British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards, which are now in their third year, are organised by Sporting Equals, the expert partner of Sport England and advisors to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
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.