As the presenter was holding the envelope with the results and the announcement was about to be made public, the last eighteen months flashed through my mind during those few seconds.
The most prominent feature in that moment was the reconfirmation of how a remarkable group of people can achieve such great results from what might seem to be something so ordinary. I have in my recent internal communication addressed our managers and coaches as admirals and flag-bearers of the SJFA armada, which is truly a flagship in our community. This remarkable group of people together with the devoted players and dedicated parents in combination with the supportive community and its infrastructure provides us with a very powerful platform to make a significant impact in the wider society.
We have often heard in various circles how sports is a medium facilitating connecting people and whilst sometimes it might be cliché the SJFA journey bears witness that the sports portal has opened up further doors to the wider society. This is not only referring to the event leading to this nomination rather each and every external encounter we arrange and experience. It has not merely been games of football but an opportunity for us to convey and share the true message of our ethos and principles. Our interaction has spread across the society stratum where we have played teams of various backgrounds, faiths, cultures, abilities, and talents paving way for new and exciting relationships. In particular, this is making a massively positive impact on the younger generation and children with regards to their level of respect and understanding of other cultures and communities, creating and nurturing ambassadors from an early age.
Whilst as a community we have achieved great results and accomplishments, exposure and introduction to the wider playing field ascertains there is a lot more work to be done, not only in the sports arena but across the community departments. This responsibility sits on everyone’s shoulder but more importantly on the second half of what is defined as Generation X.
The BEDSA Connecting Communities category was not about one individual or a few individuals, rather about a group of people working together to reach such amazing results, not within one community but across with same ethos and philosophy. Whilst it would have been a great accolade to win the awards, the actual victory is to ensure that we maintain and strengthen the relationship and use this as an inspiration to build further with other communities.
Shafique Govani (Head of SJFA ) & Kevin Coleman (The FA, Equality & Diversity Manager – Football Participation and Development Division)
This eventful experience and episode marking a milestone in the SJFA history was not the end of the journey, rather the end of the beginning.
Salaams & Duas
Head of SJFA
Stanmore Jafferys Football Academy attended the BEDSA Awards on Saturday night together with all other nominees and finalists.
Al Madina Centre and Interfaith Games joined Stanmore Jafferys Football Academy / Indian Gymkhana in the Connecting Communities Award – Spirit of 2012 category, recognising an organisation/individual/project that has had a significant impact on bringing communities together through sport or physical activity at a local level in England.
Al Madina Centre (winner)
The Al Madina Centre is a Muslim run centre used by all diverse communities of the borough. The Al Madina Sports programme is wide and varied with up to 350 people of all ages and ethnicities able to enjoy and participate. The centre has worked in partnership with Touch Gloves Boxing and currently engages with over 150 young people and adults.
An annual week long series of sports tournaments was attended by 3 faith based organisations which includes Muslim Schools, Church of England and Roman Catholic Schools. The Interfaith Games were organised across the country and has been successful in fostering unity in faith-based schools and create cohesion, integration, joint working and increase in sports participation.
SJFA extends congratulations to Al Madina Centre as well as all other nominees and winners in other categories. In addition, SJFA would like to thank the organisers for facilitating and promoting this platform of extraordinary achievements across the country.
Above all, SJFA would like to extend an enormous appreciation to our community and beyond for the fantastic and priceless support throughout the whole process.
Here is a summary report from BBC with all category winners: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/39314017
A final report from the chair will be part of this week’s newsletter to summarise and conclude this amazing and eventful experience and episode, marking a milestone in the SJFA history.
Salaams & Duas