Ninestiles Academy in Birmingham is part of Archery GB's ongoing SportsAid-funded initiative, Project Rimaya, to promote the sport across ethnically diverse communities. Funding from the project has resulted in Ninestiles qualifying a staff member to be an archery instructor, helping to introduce the sport to a new generation.
Archery instructor Abda Shaheen (pictured above and below) explained: “One of our main aims at Ninestiles Academy is tackling disadvantage. We have a culturally diverse cohort of nearly 1500 students at our school, in the heart of Birmingham. I joined Ninestiles as a teaching assistant in September 2019 and discovered they had an after-school archery club. I immediately contacted the club lead to enquire if I could help in any way.
“Whilst supporting the students, I thought it would be advantageous if I had a coaching qualification and so made the necessary enquiries. Unfortunately, Covid hit and so my plans, like so many others’, had to be put on hold.
“Once we were back, my colleague suggested I apply for the Archery GB Instructor Award and, through Archery GB’s Project Rimaya, I could get help with funding too. One successful, fully-funded course later, I am able to confidently support our wonderful students, who may have never considered taking up archery as a sport. Where they may have not been able to access it due to cost, travelling or other such barriers, we, at Ninestiles, can say: here is a sport for you to try, right where you are – a fun yet disciplined sport that fine-tunes the mind, develops your internal strength and grows with you.”
Archery GB’s Project Rimaya is key to changing attitudes and opening doors for ethnically diverse communities and female archers. The SportsAid-funded initiative, launched in 2018, started at Eden Girls’ School in Coventry, an Islamic faith institution for which archery has a strong cultural significance. As a result, encouraging Muslim females across the country to take up the sport recreationally has been a focus for Project Rimaya [the Arabic word for archery] and its success to date is spreading.
The project’s initial objectives were modest: to introduce the sport to a new audience and environment; increase participation within schools and their communities; increase awareness of archery as a worthy pastime; create a sustainable training environment and develop individuals from ethnically diverse communities' self-worth, health and lifestyle.
Pre-pandemic, three schools in Birmingham and Coventry were involved in weekly archery sessions. This has inspired new volunteers in the local communities to train as Level 1 coaches at facilities that have been specially created to meet the requirements of the Islamic faith. As the project gains momentum, with new partnerships coming on board and the expansion of the project into other areas of the country, it is hoped a wider range of people will seek out the benefits of archery.
For more information about Project Rimaya, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org