Congratulations Shaida Akbar – Get Berkshire Active Shining Light 2014

Nominated by Get Berkshire Active, Shaida Akbar is being passed on the baton from 2013 Shining Light Rose Dalton.

Shaida first got inspired to get her community active by attending a Sport Makers workshop in November 2012, at Slough YMCA The Hangout in Chalvey, Slough. This gave her the knowledge and encouragement to go back to her community and pass on her enthusiasm.  With her clear determination to make the project work, the group made Shaida the Chairman of Upton Lea Unity.

Shaida and the Upton Lea Unity Group wanted to provide sport and physical activity sessions that would be accessible to all ages, abilities and cultures. The first challenge was securing a venue. After explaining how opening their facilities would benefit the local children, Shaida secured The IQRA Islamic Primary School.

Shaida soon realised that this wasn’t going to be her only hurdle, ensuring the Upton Lea Unity Group had the correct policies and procedures in place, along with the associated paperwork before running the sessions was also a daunting prospect. Shaida contacted Get Berkshire Active for more guidance and with their help the project soon had the appropriate Child protection, Risk Assessment and First aid policies and procedures in place.   

On January 12th 2013, the first Girls multi-sport club took place, the group managed to source a coach from the local community. Shaida employed different tactics to ensure the young people didn’t miss out, for example, she would walk to the centre and pick the kids up along the way. As well as teaching the girls about the importance of an active lifestyle the group dedicated the end of the session to discussing healthy eating, a free snack was also provided to the girls as an incentive.

Although the session was doing well Shaida didn’t want to stop there. To enable them to raise some funds to expand the variety of sessions on offer the community group organised fundraising events and generated enough money to purchase bibs and balls to run a father and son football session. 

In addition to this Shaida secured Sportivate funding which included partnership funding from Slough Borough Council to run Netball sessions for 14 – 25 year old females, rewarding them with free swimming passes.

Shaida believes in practicing what she preaches. After every term she celebrates the children’s successes, gives them all a certificate and an item of sporting equipment so they are able to continue with their activities in the holidays, demonstrating sport can be done anywhere for free. 

Through Upton Lea Unity, Shaida has encouraged 100’s of people in her local community to be more active, challenging people’s perceptions about sport and healthy living and proving that anything can be achieved.

Commenting on her involvement with Community Games, Shaida said “Community Games are a way for me to bring the Olympic legacy to Upton Lea (Slough) and to keep it alive through a fusion of diverse cultural sporting activities; it is an amazing feeling being part of this!

Congratulations Shaida Akbar – Get Berkshire Active Shining Light 2014