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Levelling the Playing Field appoints first Regional Coordinator

Levelling the Playing Field, the project managed by Alliance of Sport in partnership with the Youth Justice Board, has appointed its first Regional Coordinator.

Faisal Eid (on left in main pic) will help Levelling the Playing Field’s specialist partners in South Yorkshire maximise their impact on ethnically diverse children in the local community and achieve the project’s common goals.

Faisal will work with Reach Up Youth, Saalik Young People (formerly Ellesmere Youth Project), Unity Gym and Zest in Sheffield, as well as Rotherham United Community Sports Trust and Young Minds Together in Rotherham.

“As someone who is from the community and knows all about community engagement, my role is to give these partners as much support as I can,” says Faisal. “I will provide the link between the project at a national level and the front line. I will be Levelling the Playing Field’s man on the ground.”

Faisal is the ideal appointment. He is deeply embedded within the community of Burngreave in Sheffield, both as a long-time resident and Community Development Worker for Active Burngreave – a Yorkshire Sport Foundation initiative to encourage more people to take part in weekly sport and physical activity.

Active Burngreave also uses movement, physical activity and sport as a hook to address social outcomes such as anti-social behaviour, unemployment or community cohesion. The area is one of the UK’s most deprived wards in terms of economic deprivation and health and social issues, but it is highly culturally diverse.

“Burngreave is the capital of the world!” says Faisal. “You find people from all walks of life here. It’s so full of life. In the modern world, our differences are emphasised so often, but in Burngreave all nationalities and ethnicities live side-by-side in harmony. It’s a buzzing community with a good vibe.”

Sport and physical activity are important within that social cohesion. “There’s nothing better,” says Faisal. “It’s certainly not limited to football, but in such a diverse area, football is a language everyone speaks.

“Sport is a massive pull in bringing people together. My role at Active Burngreave is all about helping all community members to realise sport is open to them and getting more of them physically active and involved in activities.”

Faisal is coach and welfare officer for several local football teams and does lots of volunteering work in the area.

“I know the vast majority of community members here,” he says. “I have a first-hand understanding of what it’s like to live in this community and am skilled at connecting people. It’s who I am – it’s part of me. It’s something I’ve always done even before I was employed by Active Burngreave.”

Faisal is now bringing those qualities to his part-time role with Levelling the Playing Field. “Having someone who’s from the area to engage face-to-face with the partners is essential,” he says. “I can’t wait to properly get started.”

Levelling the Playing Field hopes to make equivalent appointments in its other three delivery areas of the West Midlands, London and Gwent in due course.

Alliance of Sport Chief Operating Officer Justin Coleman said: “We welcome Faisal to the team as the pioneer in our newly created role of Regional Coordinator. His experience and connection with his local community made him the ideal candidate to provide ‘boots on the ground’ support for our specialist partners in South Yorkshire.”