My name is Samiya Dalal. I reside in Blackburn and am a busy mother of four, homeschooling two of my youngest children. I got back into netball and rounders as a way for me and my friends to spend quality time together.
Our friendship group formed in school and we have always maintained contact with each other. However when one of our group moved back to Blackburn, after 17 years away, we felt it was important to make an extra effort to meet up regularly as well.
Most of us had filled our time running our children to sports activities and we recognised how the addition of sport enhanced their lives. We wanted the same for ourselves. So, rather than meet in a coffee shop, collectively we decided to hire a sports hall and do an activity. After an initial attempt of jogging around a hall we introduced netball as a weekly session to give us more structure. Over time this developed into other sports, of which rounders was one. This led to the creation of a structured female sports group, which could play netball, rounders and enter competitions, while having fun and staying healthy.
What started out as five friends getting together once a week has grown into sessions that regularly attract 50 women per week, across three days.
As a volunteer-led scheme we started to find it difficult to source venues for hire. However, a cash boost from the local council and funding from Rounders England meant that we could continue the sessions, which were growing in popularity. We also held a fundraiser early this year to raise much needed money to support the running of the Tuesday netball sessions.
My friends and I set these groups up to give mothers, daughters and Asian heritage women the opportunity to socialise, make new friends, play sports and have fun. I urge any women who may have reservations about taking part to give it a go.
We want to carry this on for as long as there is a need. So many females don’t know what is available for them out there. We want other women and girls to come and experience what we are experiencing. We welcome you to come and join us. We are a friendly group, who remember what it is like to be a beginner! Contact me by email when you are interested in joining or for more information; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Samiya was recently awarded at the third annual Good Neighbours Event for her role in setting up this sports group for women.