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Show and tell: Engaging people from BAME backgrounds

Today, Sport England released ‘Sport for all - why ethnicity and culture matters in sport and physical activity’. It explores how people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are taking part in sport and physical activity. The deep-rooted inequalities mean people from BAME backgrounds are far less likely to be physically active. This week’s Show and Tell article focuses on Get Out Get Active’s impact engaging people from BAME backgrounds.

Asian women in exercise classIf you’re involved in Get Out Get Active (GOGA), you’ll know the way it makes you feel. You’ll be able to shout about it. Results show it’s having a positive impact on people’s lives and we’re delighted to be rolling it out across the UK.

GOGA is making waves in supporting people to feel happier and healthier. Here, we share some of the programme’s useful learning, funded by Spirit of 2012. We don’t want to keep the learning to ourselves – if we share it, we share the happiness too. That's why we've started Show and Tell

The Sport for All report findings are drawn from the survey responses of more than 100,000 people who contributed to our most recent Active Lives Adult and Children Surveys. Presently, 62% of adults of adults in England currently meet the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 150 minutes of physical activity a week. However, just 56% of Black people and 55.1% of Asian people (excluding Chinese) reach this figure. 

The report shows the people from Asian, Black and Chinese backgrounds are far more likely to be physically inactive than those who are white. People from these ethnic groups are also far less likely to volunteer in sport and enjoy the benefits associated with it. Disabled people from all BAME backgrounds are shown to be the least active.

Working with various local and national partners, GOGA is successful in connecting across communities. This includes locations with higher numbers of people from BAME backgrounds. The Manchester location team shares their learning:


GOGA supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together, funded by Spirit of 2012. Manchester City have excelled in getting more people active from BAME backgrounds in their locality.


In February 2019, through the GOGA lead in Manchester City, a relationship started with the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC). This was initiated with Sporting Equals, a fully independent body and a national partner of Sport England. Ruhel Ahmed is the activities co-ordinator at the centre. He was well-placed to develop an inclusive family session as he himself has a disabled child and attends a similar session in Oldham.

In April 2019, Activity Alliance delivered their Inclusive Activity Training (IAP) to 14 staff involved in the session delivery at the centre. The training included inventing and adapting activities and a competitive boccia game! Everyone enjoyed the training and felt more confident to deliver the inclusive sessions.

The training was received very positively and enabled confidence from the answers provided to our questions. The theory was very useful and relevant to our work. Overall, the training truly broadened our horizons.

Ruhel’s feedback included.


Following on from the training, the BMHC held its GOGA launch event for the Inclusive Families session. 51 people attended, including people with a range of abilities like moderate learning development, to profound autism and speech and language delay. The event included icebreakers and a taster of different activities including an introduction to boccia (learnt at the training). Families signed up for the session and seven people signed up to volunteer, including two young leaders. 

The sessions are going very well, attracting around 30 people per week. This dropped off to around 15 during Ramadhan, but is set to increase with further promotion at an Eid al-Fitr party.

Recipe for success

As this type of delivery was very new to the BMHC, discussions were held about the session. Staff and volunteers shared and continuously reviewed learning. Feedback from participants, parents and carers was essential and as they went along, they collated this, helping to enhance the sessions further.


The sessions are attended by families with disabled and non-disabled members. Therefore, the group is really advocating GOGA’s ‘active together’ ethos - enabling families to mix together in an inclusive environment.


The Inclusive family sessions Manchester City are here to stay. The BMHC sessions are fully sustained by the centre staff themselves and the volunteers. Sessions have regular participants attending as well new families getting involved.

The session leader now has longer-term aspirations to engage other service providers. These providers can support families, where there is a disabled person, and enhance partnership working across Manchester City services.

Key learning and resources

We have worked in partnership with Sporting Equals and developed a series of resources:

Sporting Equals research and advice

GOGA conference BAME learning poster

2020 British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs)

Do you know an individual or organisation who should be recognised for their outstanding achievements and contribution to sport? Then why not nominate them for the 2020 British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs).

The 3rd February 2020 is the closing date for the BEDSA awards. Celebrating its sixth year the BEDSAs provide a unique opportunity to celebrate and reward Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) sporting excellence.