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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.


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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




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Redbridge Museum’s On The Move Exhibition

Redbridge Museum’s summer exhibition On The Move is coming to an end this weekend, so I thought I would go along and see what it was all about!  The theme is transport related and showcases a variety of different modes of transport.  As a first time visitor to the Museum exhibition, I wasn’t really aware of what to expect, and I was surprised that everything was extremely interactive providing lots of things for children to do.


As you walk inside the exhibition space, there are lots of colours and signs drawn on the walls which are actually road signs. There are many huge structures which the children can climb on including a plane with seating for a pilot and co-pilot, a boat which children can climb aboard, and for children that love to dress up, there are costumes which they can wear. There was a train with lots of seats inside, so multiple people could sit and watch a video showing a drivers view of the London underground. The exhibition also includes other types of transport including wheelchairs, bicycles and scooters.

There is an assistant who is very hands on and keen to help all the children, explaining to them how things work, as she did this she explained how real versions of the exhibits would work too and the children were so mesmerised by her and you could really tell that they were interested in what she had to say.

The exhibition offers educational benefits because next to all the interactive activities there are fact sheets that described what it represented and for some pieces it described the history about it so that the children were learning and having a good time. The interactive activities included many puzzles, things they could build and games, including a variation of whack-a-rat.


The atmosphere in the exhibition was entirely happy and the sounds of laughing and playing was very clear, a young boy called Charlie summed up his visit by saying “it’s fun!” and another young boy called Louis, when asked what he liked the most exclaimed “all of it!”. A grandparent of children playing also told me that she had brought her grandson once and he loved it so much that she brought him and his cousin back again! This proves that this exhibition is not one that should be missed!

Exhibition closes on Saturday 2 September, so hurry if you wish to experience the fun. Entry is FREE.

For more information visit the website

Guest Author: Kate Beard




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Welcome to the Redbridge Schools’ Library Service New Feature!

Last week the Carnegie Shortlist was announced and it was interesting to see that only one of the books chosen is on our Redbridge Children’s Book Award Shortlist this year.  Students have been busy reading and have voted for their top five children’s titles and top five teen titles published in 2013.  Voting for the winners will take place at the end of May and announced at our Award Ceremony at the Town Hall on Thursday 26 June.

Children’s Shortlist



Teen Shortlist


CILIP Carnegie Medal 2014 shortlist:

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (Templar)

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (Puffin)

The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston (David Fickling Books)

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (Bodley Head)

Blood Family by Anne Fine (Doubleday)

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber & Faber)

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (Andersen Press)

The Wall by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury)



Post Author: Nina Simon (SLS manager)

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Championing Strong Female Voices: International Women’s Day – The power of unity amongst women

Observed since the early 1900s, International Women’s Day remains a prominent day of appreciation and celebration of women’s progression and achievements throughout history. Spanning from social to political and economic issues, women who were previously denied voices, began to emerge and demand recognition, in aspects including a woman’s right to vote and equality in the workplace. It is undeniable that society today owes a great deal to the sacrifices and determination of women’s groups and campaigns for an improved and fairer society. History has seen the impact and importance of women working together to achieve something beneficial to all.

A perfect example of the advantages of unity amongst women is the way they stand behind multiple campaigns for breast cancer awareness. One of its campaigns include bra banks, in which women can deposit their old bras in one of these nifty bright pink banks and they will be sent to Africa to aid their textile industry and improve lives of many families involved. Not only this, but it raises money for research into breast cancer, and if that wasn’t enough, it is also a good way of the bras avoiding an eternity confined to a landfill site. This is such a monumental campaign as it not only highlights the power of unity amongst women but it shows how this unity can have a positive and long lasting impact on life, not just in the UK.

The bra banks also help women in their openness about breast cancer, by just seeing women donating their bras in that iconic pink box can make a world of difference and bring a sense unity to the suffering that comes with breast cancer.

The Big Bra Hunt by Oxfam UK is another opportunity for women to give their bras a new lease of life either in the UK or all the way in Senegal where they are sold through their social enterprise, Frip Ethique. The money goes to battling poverty throughout the country and around the world. While The Big Bra Hunt may be misinterpreted as going against women’s rights, Oxfam claim ‘All communications around the campaign are designed to avoid objectifying women’s bodies or sexualising bras’. It is absolutely vital that it is the hard work of the women in this campaign that is illuminated and remains at the heart of the project. In fact, it is interesting to point out that it is the women on the front line of Senegal’s social enterprise that request the bras, as they are the most valuable items when it comes to selling them on to the local markets.

So, by keeping up the donations of bras over here, we can do our bit to support the women of Senegal by securing their employment and bettering their lives through the social change brought about the monetary investment made to fight poverty.


1)    Oxfam quote and information found at:


Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar

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Championing Strong Female Voices: International Women’s Day

A friend mentioned to me the other day that although he had really enjoyed his school days, he did not know many women who had said the same. Generalisation though this is, it nonetheless seems to be one that holds some water. I’m sure there are arguments to be made attributing this to the differing ways boys and girls often handle stress, and the varying effects of hormones once puberty hits, but I believe there is a strong case to be made for many of the problems coming down to the differences in the way society treats the genders. More specifically, I think the problem lies in the ways we are taught to treat each other.

The UN theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (celebrated on March 8th all across the globe) isEquality for Women is Progress for All’. Although I’m glad this sentiment is finally being given centre stage, it’s well over-due. It’s easy to stand on your soap box, preaching about oppression of and lack of opportunities for women whose own countries, own religions, own families are seemingly against them, but the reality is that we are far from getting it right ourselves. Not to mention how far our tabloid-soaked society is from really understanding the complexities in the assumed oppression of certain women. Does this mean we shouldn’t consider any women to be oppressed? No, of course not – there are so many women out there desperately needing help. Does this mean, from a wealthy, white male-orientated societal position, that we should assume all women, for instance choosing to cover their hair and faces, are oppressed? Again no, of course not. You can’t tell with just a glance and a quick generalisation why a woman chooses to present herself in a certain way. And again, we are far from being in a position to make such judgements. We are bombarded by images of surgically-enhanced and photoshopped women flaunting their assets whilst we proclaim them to be the pinnacle of desirability, and yet a woman attempting to emulate that in real life will be subject to abuse and victim-blaming.

This brings me back to my original point, that I think what we’re teaching in schools is the real crux of the matter. Schools – particularly senior schools – reflect the wider social conditions of their locations, as well as holding a mirror to the country as whole. Perhaps the problem is not only that there simply isn’t enough emphasis on equality, but that there are not enough discussions taking place about the nature of the society we grow up into. The problem won’t disappear overnight, but if it was a compulsory part of the national curriculum to study and understand things like gender differences and choices, alongside sexuality and sexual identity, then hopefully understanding would turn into respect. Understanding and respecting someone’s choices doesn’t mean that you have to make those choices yourself, but it does remove the stigma and fear that accompany the unknown.

This then, should be where accurately teaching Feminism comes into play. The first and most important – and most commonly misunderstood or ignored – aspect of Feminism, is that it is far greater than just being an argument for women’s rights. Feminism is not just designed to benefit a certain group of women, but to benefit everyone, even those resistant to its changes. As the UN puts it; ‘Equality for Women is Equality for All’. In real terms, equality for women means happier, and therefore more productive, workplaces; better educated women with more earning potential, who in turn spend more money and help to drive the economy; happier and more equal home lives, thereby relieving the pressure on men who often feel that society dictates it’s up to them to shoulder the burden of familial responsibility; and the general opening up of equality for everyone. If women can gain their equality, then how can equality ever be denied to anyone else? And if in schools we thoroughly teach the basic necessity for equality and for treating each other with respect, perhaps that will stop some of the problems causing women to look back on their school days as less-than-happy. If we can remove the imagined need to fight amongst ourselves over the things society dictates women ought to obsess over – principally attractiveness, appearances and men – then perhaps we can all move forward together as a society. Once again, ‘Equality for women is Equality for All’, and we still have a long way to go.


Post Author: Jessica Polling. 

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Free School Sessions for Redbridge Schools

Would you like to explore life in a pond from a Frog’s point of view?  Then come and join us for ‘Life Under the Surface’, an exciting craft workshop that celebrates the variety of wildlife living in UK ponds.

Learn about the importance of biodiversity through a fun filled talk with questions, games and videos. Then put what you have learnt into action building giant pond creatures! Your work will be used to create an amazing underwater themed exhibition to help visitors to the centre more about the weird and wonderful animals living in ponds.

School sessions run daily: 11th-14th, and 18th-21st March 2013. Morning sessions: 10.30am-12pm, Afternoon session: 1pm-2.30pm. Please pass this information on to anyone who may be interested!

Suitable for Key stages 1&2

Run by Froglife, a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and saving the habitats they depend on.

To book your FREE session please contact the Nature Conservation Rangers on 0208 5592316 or

Post Author: Tess Pettinger