This project provides intergenerational football and Muay Thai boxing sessions for men and boys in the Church Street area of Westminster. It aims to help the community to get to know one another and to create stronger bonds between fathers and their children.
The project is aimed at men and boys from Bangladeshi or other minority ethnic backgrounds. It is run by Marylebone Bangladesh Society.
Delivery of one Muay Thai boxing session and one football session per week
Church Street neighbourhood, Westminster
2020 - 2023
There are very few play areas in the Church Street neighourhood and the ward is densely populated. There is only one football pitch which people have to pay between £30 - £60 to use per hour which many residents cannot afford. For young people there are some after school clubs but these are reducing and there are less spaces for people to socialise.
Residents living in the area were asked and said they would like a space to meet and do activities where they could make friends and be active. Football and Muay Thai were the activities decided on by local people. They were chosen especially as all age groups could take part and having a space for young and older people to meet was important to participants.
Marylebone Bangladesh Society was started to help improve social connections with the local Bangladeshi population but due to new people moving in and out of the local area, participants are now from around 20 different nationalities. Participants also join from the multiple different primary and secondary schools in the area, so young people are able to meet peers that they wouldn’t usually.
There have been wider impacts on the community due to the social connections formed at the project. Anti-social behaviour appears to have reduced in some areas where young people didn’t know each other before. Having a coach at the sessions also helps young people be more engaged with the project.
Some participants have experienced positive impacts in their families due to the opportunity for fathers and sons to bond in the intergenerational setting. Adults have also experienced reduced social isolation outside of the project as they have gone on to meet up with people at local coffee shops.
“Because of Covid the projects been more popular, a lot of people experienced isolation and mental health issues have gone through the roof and so it’s great we’re able to do this.”