Do More

…In Redbridge!

Leave a comment

What it takes to tackle coaching

As a mother to three beautiful boys, the first things we played with were in fact footballs. My children are all keen footballers and my eldest even has a YouTube channel called the indoor freestyler where he shows football skills and does challenges from home and yes, he does break things and no, I do not recommend ball games indoors!

However, I’ve always loved playing football, and as a child I spent my summers playing at the local park, which we fondly called ‘Red Pitch’, with my brother and other children in our area.  I stopped playing football as a young girl due to cultural pressures because football had always been seen as a ‘man’s game’.

I later rediscovered the sport when I went to University although the numbers of girls interested was so low that in the end I just joined the gym and forgot about playing as I thought there was no demand for it. Nonetheless here I am today a qualified level 1 Coach!

This came about when I got involved with the Football Association Level 1 (FAL1) through my organisation, Muslimah Sports Association (MSA).  I was persuaded to take part by our Chair, Yashmin Harun, who is always looking to invest in the people around her. Roughly six months prior to starting the course I had started playing football again which reminded me how much I enjoyed the beautiful game and how good it felt to get fitter. So although I had my reservations and was apprehensive about how the course would work, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved in something centred around my passion even though it was frowned upon amongst my community (I knew other women from similar backgrounds shared this problem).BHM 860X310mm header 2016

The FAL1 helped rekindle my love for football, and I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience which I felt was perfectly tailored for me. The coach that trained us, Louise, was truly inspirational and shared many common barriers that we all faced including being a mother.

Louise became a coach when women’s football was seen as small scale and football still had the stigma of being a ‘man’s sport’. Although attitudes may not have been in her favour, she remained dedicated to spreading her knowledge and involving other women in the sport, gradually breaking down the barriers that society had formed. She was there to coach for the love of the game and teach children, including her own.

Throughout the course she was not only professional and very supportive but very accommodating too which was well received as quite a few ladies on the course were mum’s too, and Louise knew first-hand of the issues that we had all faced. Being a parent would often make attending sessions difficult, but our coach was aware of issues such as childcare, and so would be flexible, she also allowed a child to sit in with us until they were collected during one session. This all helped to make the course easy, and less stressful for us all.

The course was split into theory and practice, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. When I started I was already coaching my students football as part of the National Curriculum, however FAL1 taught me additional mentoring aspects of the game that I had not previously considered such as how we play and how we support others.  We also learnt things about ourselves such as how we interact with others and how easy it was to get on with people from different backgrounds, as well as different ages (the youngest student on the course being around college age, to the oldest around 40 years old) simply because we have the same goal in mind as well as the same passion for the game. It was great to meet new people who quickly became a network of friends I can call on.

We did a range of practises on the course, from passing to scoring and everything in-between and we had a rich variety of coaching styles to work with.

four corner model

We were also introduced to the Football Associations Four Corner Model which I thought was a unique and effective teaching tool which, due to its adaptability, can be applied to any sport. I have since used this in regular teaching as I was so impressed by how the model covered the main areas which add to the development of an individual. 

After finishing the course a huge number of fantastic opportunities have opened up to me. I am currently being mentored and occasionally co-coach our ladies football night on a Friday which is run by MSA.  I am also really excited to be fully coaching a ladies session in partnership with Leyton Orient Football Club as I feel that with the amount of resources and support provided by an official Football Club, I can only  thrive. Lastly, I have just been approached to run a girls session and after school club for girls.  So all in all it was a truly positive experience which I would highly recommend to anyone considering this course.

The highlight of this journey for me has been my realisation of women’s football and with these new initiatives things will only get better.  I am really proud to be part of this and look forward to seeing more fruitful partnerships which will help people to try new things in future. I am also humbled by the ample opportunities’ available if you are willing to look.  I consider myself in a privileged position to help the next generation of girls realise aspirations and dreams that my generation could not have.

The FA and all the people that were involved in this venture have broken down some barriers which have created new pathways for the future and I have now learned that this sport isn’t just for one gender, it is for everyone!

Football is a passion in my household and my husband, alongside local dads, has recently started up an initiative called ‘Dads and lads’ where local dads go and have a kick about in the park with their sons. I have been thinking of an initiative similar to this for mums and their kids but it’s still only in my head.  Watch this space….

Post Author: Reha Ullah


Leave a comment

My Journey… FA Level 1 Coaching Football

As a youngster I used to play football with the children around the area. I used to go home after school grab a snack and meet outside and play football on the streets until it got dark. At the age of 14 my parents didn’t think it was it right for me to be playing football with boys it was a combination of religious and cultural reasons. It was not normal for an Asian girl at my age playing football and especially with only boys. I respected my parents’ decision as I was up against stigma myself from some of my relatives and thought it was time to stop playing. I missed playing so much that I looked to see if there were only female clubs where I could play, I did manage to find one but the coach was male so I was unable to join. There were too many religious and cultural barriers I was facing I decided to accept that I was not going to continue playing football.

As the years went by I missed playing football. I have three children and always have a kick about with them in the park. One day as I was browsing through my Facebook a suggested paged popped up, it was MSA (Muslimah Sports Association) I opened the page and the first post was FA LEVEL 1 course 3 spaces available. I thought to myself is this meant to be, like a sign, I contacted them and registered. This was a chance for me to do something I am passionate about, it was also my opportunity to break down the cultural barriers’ and inspire women and girls to play football.04

The FA level 1 course was tailored well. It took place once a week on Saturday mornings. As a mother of three at first, I was unsure about taking up my Saturdays as it was the only day my children didn’t have anything happening so family time with them would be affected. But the course started at 9.30 and finished at 2pm so I still had most of the day to spend with them and after 3 consecutive Saturdays we had one Saturday off which was good. The course took place in Al Medina Mosque and our tutor took a break around the prayer time and allowed those who wanted to pray to do so.

After I got my coaching qualification, the following week I volunteered with the MSA. I coach alongside another coach on Fridays with females 12 years and over. I have been coaching every Friday since October, this has given me confidence and I have been able to pick up new things and improve as a coach.01

Yashmin from MSA messaged everyone who did the level 1 course and told us there was a paid coaching job available at Frenford club. I was interested so I contacted them and I was given the role. I started on 13 January and I will be coaching under 8’s until May and then a few days in June. For my first two sessions I was supported by another coach. This Saturday will be my 3rd week and I will be running the whole session on my own with my own games and drills. The coach who is helping me said they will support me on my journey, and if I would like to progress they will put me on the FA level 2 course. The FA have also been very supportive and are helping me to progress as much as possible.

The FA Level 1 course has been the best decision I have made. I am passionate about football and I want to see more girls and women, especially within the BAME, coaching and playing football. Hopefully I can inspire women and tackle the low levels of sporting participation among female minority ethnic groups, I hope my story empowers women to push the boundaries and break down the barriers that we have to face.


For more information visit London Sport or the Essex FA

Read our blog post on the FA level 1 coaching award in Redbridge

Guest author: Yasmin Hussain

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.

1 Comment

Could more women Bend it like Beckham? 15 inspirational Asian women achieve FA level 1 coaching award

Women’s football in Redbridge and surrounding boroughs should shortly start reaping the benefits of having fifteen newly qualified Asian women coaches in the borough.

In a bid to help tackle low levels of sporting participation among female minority ethnic groups in the London Borough of Redbridge, 2017 saw Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure work with a coalition of leading sports bodies and partners and in collaboration with Muslimah Sports Association (MSA) to successfully support 15 Asian women through a 6-month project resulting in them achieving their level 1 FA coaching award.

Yashmin Harun, Chair of MSA, attributes the success of the project to the commitment of all the partners involved who were able to create a tailored course providing targeted support to this group of women enabling them to develop their specialist football coaching skills.

The MSA were proud to be involved with such a pioneering project which has resulted in more ethnic minority female coaches for London. It is hoped that as a result of this course, Asian women will feel empowered to push the boundaries and try football and other sports.

SportsTeamMosque14Dec17 (02)Pictured: Yashmin Harun, Chair of Muslimah Sports Association and
Mark Healy, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure

Special thanks go to London Sport and the Essex FA for championing the project and to the FA and the Black, Asian Coaches Association for their support.

London Sport’s Specialist Advisor for Workforce, Dean Nevill was delighted with the success of the project and said that he hoped this can now be adapted as a model to support more people across the whole of London to become community champions of physical activity, and contribute to a more active London now, and in the future.

Andrew Crowl, Coaching Development Officer from the Essex FA was looking forward to supporting these ladies on their continuing coaching journey, whilst Cindi Chatha, Equality & Inclusion Officer felt that the ladies were not only inspiring to others within their community, but are role models to the next generation of females from a BAME background.  She hopes that reading about this will inspire others to actively participate within football.

Watch this space to find out how our newly qualified coaches are faring as they take their first steps into sport coaching!

For more information visit London Sport or the Essex FA

Post Author: Mark Healy, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure




Leave a comment

Celebrating Healthy Families in Redbridge in Loxford Park!

Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure and NELFT Healthy Eating Team hosted a celebration with families in Loxford Park on Monday 24 August. It was a celebration to mark a fantastic year for the MEND, Little Dudes and Active Stars weight management programme; becoming healthier through healthy eating and physical activity.

Despite an unfortunate forecast and a very wet morning, it was a pleasure to see so many families turn up to Loxford Park to celebrate being a healthy family in Redbridge. There was plenty of fun to be had and activities for all ages to enjoy, in particular the beach volleyball session and healthy food tasters! The turn out proved the determination of the healthy families, a bit of rain never hurt anyone!

Beach volleyball

There were a variety of stalls from providers for families to enjoy. Vision RCL Sport and Health Team had a stall with information of all the physical activity options the Sport and Health Team provide. They also had information on other activities in the borough provided by outside organisations. For updates from the Sport and Health Team, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Everyone enjoyed the healthy snacks, activities and information about healthy food from NELFT healthy eating team. Also popular was the ISS education stall. ISS education came in full force with plenty of healthy ingredients for everyone to try out such as pea pate and a delightful spinach, banana, mango and pineapple smoothie – created on the smoothie bike! The smoothie bike attracted a lot of attention. Encouraging physical activity, the smoothie bike creates a smoothie from the energy produced riding and pedalling! Your efforts are rewarded with a delicious healthy drink afterwards!

Smoothie bike

Find out more information about what services NELFT Healthy Eating Team and ISS education provide.

Fit for Fun, School Nursing Team & Infant Feeding Team and the local Children’s Centres all had a stall providing information on the local services and activities they have to offer.

See what is going on at your local Children’s Centre in Redbridge and find more information of Free Fit for Fun exercise classes.

Sport & Health Team Tent in Loxford park

There are a number of Healthy Workshops throughout the year, so if you are looking for some support with healthy eating or increasing physical activity in your family, please do not hesitate to contact the Healthy Weight Teams today. View more information on Healthy Kids in Redbridge & Weight Management Support.

For more information on how to get involved in any of our healthy eating sessions contact: or for active stars contact the team on

Post Author: Eleanor Wilkinson

Leave a comment

Physical Fun and Friendly Furious: my intro to Handball

I’ve heard of Handball’s popularity in other parts of Europe with my Swedish and Hungarian friend very keen on the sport. I had never seen it or played it before myself. I’m always looking to take on a new challenge so thought I would give it a go.

I found it hard to grasp the hand position and grip on the ball. Growing up with netball all through school it was hard to turn off the netball technique which I’m so used to. The coach kept explaining that I needed to grip the ball in the palm of my hand and raise my arm far behind my head. A few drills later and I still couldn’t master it. She tried another approach “Think of the movement like a whip; raising your arm high with a quick swish and flicking action from your wrist. You could even try making the noise as you do it.” Surprisingly that worked! I made the whipping noise and threw the ball correctly for the first time all evening!

It was now time for a passing game, not quite ready to play Handball yet. We were divided into two teams. The first team to reach 11 passes back to back without dropping the ball won. It didn’t take us long to realise that the key to winning was short quick passes. This was a key skill to Handball.

After a few games we were ready to play the real thing. Still in the same teams but now assigned positions. I was assigned as the goalkeeper. As the goalkeeper I was the only player allowed in the scoring D. In this section the goalkeeper can also move and dribble with the ball as much as they want. Other players can only move 3 steps with the ball and dribble with a few bounces, unlike basketball where you can bounce the ball up and down as much as you like. The goalkeeper is able to leave the goal area and play on the rest of the court, even to shoot but that means leaving the goal wide open, which I learnt the hard way was not a good thing to do! Not sure if these are the exact rules as there weren’t as many players as there are on a normal team, so the coach may have adapted them.

Our technique of quick short passes worked really well for my team and we managed to win 10-6! With lots of running and sprinting, I quickly determined that Handball is a fast paced game! A great cardio workout and loads of fun! The women at the session, like me, had never played before but we were all raving about the sport by the end of it! We hadn’t met before but all vowed to go back again and play the following week. It’s a very sociable game as it’s a team sport. We all got on well and enjoyed playing as a team!

Why not give it a go? It would be great to have enough players for a full team of 7-a-side, that way I wouldn’t have to play two positions and cover the goal!

Handball is the new edition to Us Girls for the summer. Come along and try it at Wanstead Leisure Centre Tuesdays 8pm-9pm and Thursdays 6pm-7pm.

View more information on sessions this summer

Post Author: Sarah O’Brien

Leave a comment

Go Tri Duathlon comes to Redbridge

Friday 24 April saw the first Go Tri Duathlon at Cricklefields Athletic Ground. Aimed at beginners new to the sport, participants had to run 1 mile, cycle 2 miles and finish with another mile run.

Local resident Andy took part and had the following to say:

Just wanted to say thanks for putting on the Duathlon on Friday evening. Me and a group of friends decided to ride over to Ilford Athletic Club and give it a go. One or two of us were a bit nervous about the cycling part, but the marshals were so friendly and supportive, those nerves soon disappeared! The race distance was perfect too. I think people will be surprised at how much fun they’d have if they came down and gave Duathlon a go. It’s a brilliant way of getting fitter and because it’s on an athletics track, we were never more than a few strides or pedals away from the others taking part, which meant there was support and cheers at every turn. What I really enjoyed most was, no matter who finished first or last, everybody stuck around to cheer and applaud each finisher over the line. We are all definitely coming back down to the next one at Cricklefields to see if we can better our last performance and to have some fun.

Andy, South Park Terrace, Ilford.


Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure will be hosting a series of 4 further events over the summer:
Fridays 19 June, 17 July, 21 August and 18 September. View Duathlon dates on our calender of events by selecting the summer months in the date section below the search box.
To book your place on the next Duathlon click here. Cost £5 if paid in advance/ £6 on the day. Registration opens at 6.30pm. The event is open to everyone aged 14 and over. Bikes must be in road worthy condition and a helmet worn.

Post Author: Craigie-Lee Paterson

Leave a comment

AthleFit-Channel the Athlete in You

The adult AthleFit sessions at Seven Kings High School on Monday evenings saw four of its attendees awarded sport water bottles for their great effort and attendance for 6 weeks.athlefit

The AthleFIT sessions are inclusive of every age,background and ability and are an exciting way to have fun and get fit at the same time. It is an athletics themed fitness session taken by a qualified instructor and is the perfect way to meet new people and experience tailored workouts with a bit of friendly rivalry if you so want.

Whether you’re looking for a fresh way to get some exercise or pulling on your trainers for the first time in years, AthleFit is for you!

There is now a new AthleFit class as well on a Tuesday afternoon, 2.30pm-3.30pm at Redbridge Town Hall, Ilford as well as the Monday evening session at Seven Kings High School 6pm-7pm. Both sessions are £3 each with no need to book.

View an Athlefit session in action from England Athletics!

For enquiries:

Post Author: Natalie Pope