Community 03.02.22

Darnall Education & Sports Academy improving the lives of local residents

Kamran Din, Director at Darnall Education & Sports Academy, was recently featured in unLTD magazine talking about sport in the community, here’s what he had to say …

We are Darnall Education & Sports Academy (DESA). Our aim is to improve the life chances of the people of Sheffield through sports, education and developing cultural capital. We offer sports sessions, tutoring and activities ranging from Manchester City football games to the Sheffield Lyceum to watch pantomimes. All of these are opportunities to develop cultural capital in our community to enhance young people’s life chances and expose them to experiences that many have not had the opportunity to take part in.

Our sports sessions have developed rapidly over the past eight months at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield. We offer football, multisport, cricket and female-only sessions. Children have the opportunity to take part in a range of different sporting activities to build confidence and good sportsmanship. Above all, we aim to instil respect into the hearts of the people we work with. This will then have a direct impact on how they respect themselves, their peers, parents, and the wider community.

The female-only sports sessions include Zumba and Yoga, but we will be expanding to offer badminton and boxing. These sessions are aimed toward BAME females who don’t have the opportunity to take part in sport due to a range of circumstances. Giving them a space, which is private with qualified instructors is something that is greatly needed. We have an obesity dilemma that has been expatiated by COVID. Mental health is a major problem and exercise is one of the keys to help resolve it. Our work aims to tackle this in the community.

In the future, we look forward to building a stronger and long-term relationship with Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park to offer sessions for key target groups. Our key focus is on groups that have been side-lined and have few provisions in place to allow them to take part in sport. An example is the Slovak/Roma community. This community has suffered from lack of integration into the locality for several reasons, communication being one and a lack of funding. DESA see sport as an opportunity to unite communities.

Our next project is to offer a session for autistic children and adults to allow them the opportunity to take part in exercise, keep fit and develop confidence. We feel that this is a key group that is not able to access sporting venues due to a lack of organisations being able to cater for them. DESA has a passion to allow all members of society to thrive. We have a passionate team who understand first-hand the issues which autistic people face and we are dedicated to breaking down the stigma in accessing sports.

We feel with the right partnership agreement between key organisations we could deliver provisions to 500 young people a week, promoting mental health, community cohesion and opportunities and pathways into competitive football through the above mentioned clubs. At our sessions, we have brought in the local MP, councillors, fire service, police officers and local professional athletes to promote positive role models and we look forward to helping many more young people in 2022.