Burngreave’s Big Brothers

Burngreave's Big Brothers

Story and photo by Richard Belbin

It’s a sIt’s a simple idea: a project run by teenage boys, for teenage boys, bringing them together to do something positive with their time and in their community.  “I took the concept from the US and adapted it for 11-15, and 16-20 year olds’” said project founder Safiya Saeed.

“After setting up the initial group, I just took a box of equipment to Concord [sports centre]and that was that. Each week I would take up equipment or water, but I took less and less each time and now they are completely self-led and allowed me to step right back”

One of that initial group, Sahal Barre, told the Messenger about how he became involved:

“My friendships had changed, and I needed a new group to hang out with. We wanted to do something special. We came up with ideas and promoted it. Some people were quite surprised – ‘there aren’t gonna be no girls?’ But we are about developing friendships, with people from all over. The guys would try to show off to the girls, and we wouldn’t work as a team”

All too often youth from Burngreave are judged simply because they come from Burngreave, but Big Brother aims to counter that. “Measure me by my action not my postcode” says Sahal.

There were only seven people in the initial group, but now around fifty turn up regularly. The group runs a variety of activities, usually sports based, and meet up with other groups from around the area.

“There are three ways in to the group – come along and watch, join in, volunteer. Hopefully one thing leads onto another. Just join in though, it’s fun. It makes other things nicer too. I even enjoy going to Rotherham now”

Events are held on Saturdays – although be warned, there’s no standing on the sidelines watching, you have to get involved!

Big Brother Burngreave was set up through Sport Relief as part of a national pilot which has been running in Sheffield and Norwich.