Nafisa Patel is a Level 2 cricket coach but started off playing badminton then she gradually leaned towards volunteering for MSA. All this occurred as she came across a social media poster showing free badminton lessons within a relative distance. For MSA it is important to get the local community active, what better than staying connected to the sport, not only as a participant but as a coach. In the last year, I have probably coached more than I’ve played. I think both are important. For me, participation as a player is where the inspiration to coach has come from and I thoroughly enjoy playing. As a coach trying to provide opportunities for others to have fun and be inspired is also fulfilling.’ Having a pioneering mindset for change intertwines with MSA’s motive for change.
MSA also provides platforms for their participants to excel in their chosen sport, by showcasing pathways they can undertake to engage their community. ‘MSA has shown me that there are women who enjoy the sport but have expressed the barriers to playing that still exist. This is one of the reasons I try to help where I can help break down the barriers.’ There is still a drive to do more within the community especially when BAME women are seen to have the least active lifestyle. Nafisa holds a real passion in this sector suggesting ideas to combat barriers within the community. ‘Providing opportunities for all groups within society to have some form of activities for them i.e. over 60’s, mums with young kids, working individuals. A stronger sense of working partnerships, not just with sporting groups, could help engage with all the different groups.’ This will then address wider issues that affect today’s society, thus the importance of highlighting the benefits of sports to communities that see sports through an abnormal perspective