Sports event

Sunderland children embrace diversity and multiculturalism during a sporting event at the Beacon of Light

The event was organized by the community group Young Asian Voices (YAV) but was open to all children and young people in Sunderland.

Children could take part in a range of games and sports including tennis, badminton, football, table tennis, cricket, softball, volleyball and hula hoop, while teenagers could take part in a football tournament to win the Partnership Cup.

Older children and young people could also find out more about careers and training opportunities by visiting the stands of organizations such as the Army, Northumbria Police and Sunderland College.

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Sunderland ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) was also available for anyone interested in enrolling in a course to develop their English skills.

YAV Director Kumareswaradas Ramanthas said, “This event is about embracing and valuing diversity and bringing people together through sport. It’s about bringing people together to celebrate inclusion within the City of Sunderland.

“This is an opportunity to showcase the facilities available at the Beacon of Light whilst bringing different parts of the community together to take part in sporting activities, learn about services and opportunities in and around Sunderland, have fun and meet different people.

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YAV Employment Support Worker Hamida Begum, four-year-old Jessica Lambert and five-year-old Iqra Ahmed play tennis at the Beacon of Light.

The Beacon of Light, home of the SAFC’s official charity, The Foundation of Light, as well as the sports medium, was chosen as an ideal vehicle to engage children and young people from all walks of life.

YAV Chairman Dr Paul Andrew said: “When we started YAV 26 years ago, we came from a history of many challenges and have now developed a range of opportunities to bring communities together.

“Sport and club football have always been a great way to bring people together. It is very important that as a city we embrace multiculturalism and it is getting stronger in Sunderland all the time.

“YAV has always been about empowering us as individuals through sport and it is through sport that communities can come together and get to know each other which really helps to understand diversity through the city.”

Josie Foster tries her hand at badminton at the captivating and starring event at the Beacon of Light.

It’s a message that certainly seems to have been embraced by children enjoying the event.

Nine-year-old Tehzeeb Islam, who attends Richard Avenue Primary School, said: “I had a lot of fun doing hula hoops. It was good to bring everyone from different backgrounds together.

His classmate Izyan Khan, 10, added: “I really enjoyed today, especially the penalty shootout. I have a lot of friends at school from different backgrounds and I think it’s good that we’re all different.

YAV cultural coordinator Maya Dhananyaj shows Zoyea Islam, Tehzeeb Islam and Abdou Karim how to hula-hoop.

The event was organized in conjunction with Sunderland City Council.

The Council’s Head of Partnerships, Jessica May, said: “Today was about bringing together different parts of the community from different backgrounds to share an experience in a safe environment where people can engage.”

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councilor Graeme Miller, said: ‘This event aims to encourage working in partnership and to help bring more community cohesion and integration to our town and the message that everyone is welcome.”

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Children from many Wearside communities take part in one of the many sporting activities on offer today at the Beacon of Light.

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The children take part in one of the many activities offered today at the Lighthouse.
Izyan Khan, 10, Musa Ahmed, eight, and Tehzeeb Islam, nine, get ready for a game of table tennis at the Beacon of Light.
Young Asian Voices (YAV) Exc Manager Kumareswradas Ramanathas, Jamie Wright, MD Foundation of Light, Dr Paul Andrew , YAV Chairman, Jessica May, Sunderland Partnership manager, Alison Smith, Deputy Mayor and Mayor Consort David Smith celebrate the opening of the Engaging and Presentation Event at the Beacon of Light.