With the help of Activity Sheffield, sports team Burngreave Tigers have been impressing Sheffield with their skills, winning matches in a whole range of sports and also securing a top city wide award.
Burngreave Tigers were set up just over a year ago and now has a team of about 35 children, aged 9-11, who practice each week at Fir Vale School. The sessions are free and designed to give children in the area the chance to try out a variety of sports. Each half term the team are set a new sport to try and master. After winning tag rugby, cricket and the October tournament of basketball, athletics and table tennis, now the challenge is badminton and indoor cricket.
Bilal Hussain, one of the team’s members said,
“I’ve been here since the start. I like coming because there’s a lot of sport and we can play football, badminton, anything we want.”
They represent the area in sports competition against all the other areas in the city. Three wins in the last three competitions means they are the team everyone is looking to beat.
“They’ve absolutely hammered the opposition,” said Imran Ali from Activity Sheffield and coach for the Tigers. “Clubs are out there wanting to beat Burngreave Tigers – that’s a great feeling. I understand what it means to be Man United now!”
But for Imran and the children, it’s not just about the winning. It’s about the opportunity they are being given to learn important skills.
“Kids are staying at home and not doing much but this gives them something to look forward to. They feel like they are a part of something and because of that they’re a lot more confident.”
It’s not all down to Imran though, as teenagers from the area volunteer to help the children improve at the sports. Asad Ali, 14, is just one of those who come along each week and assist in organising the sessions.
“I look at the kids and then at myself and it shows me where I was in their position. I tell them what I’ve learnt and they put it into their performance and it just develops from there. I wish an opportunity like this was there when we were that age.”
In December the Tigers won the Active Challenge Award, beating hundreds of other nominees. They went to the Town Hall to meet the Lord Mayor and were told that they had won because of the positive work they had done in the community.
“They deserved to be nominated but to win it was a great feeling. For them to know that they have won shows they are doing a good job. A lot of people are told they are failures but the certificates show they’re not,” said Imran.
So what is it that makes the Tigers the team to beat in Sheffield? According to Ali, it’s all to down to the kids.
“When you’ve got a good group of kids who listen and have a lot of discipline, it’s them that makes me want to do something. Some of these kids have had difficulties at school but, in the club, they are different altogether. They’re listening and have improved a lot,” he said. “It’s a proper club, a family and friends.”