During the month of Ramadan Oldham Athletic Community Trust have been delivering late night football sessions for local Muslim youngsters to provide them with the opportunity to exercise at a safe time.
As part of the Islamic faith, Muslims practice fasting during the month of Ramadan which entails not eating or drinking during the hours of daylight. This in turn makes it difficult to participate in physical activity due to a lack of energy and the risk of dehydration.
The sessions form part of the Trust's Kickz project which aims to engage young people in constructive activities by using the power of football and the appeal of professional clubs.
The delivery of this initiative saw the club working with a group of young people within the Coldhurst area who felt the provision of Kickz needed to be adapted during the month of Ramadan. Subsequently sessions have been taking place at the later time of 10pm to midnight on Tuesday and Saturday evenings with groups of 30 plus attending.
This was made possible through the partnership between the Trust and Oldham Community Leisure who allowed the Grange all weather pitch to be used at a later time.
James Mwale, Oldham Athletic Community Trusts Kickz Project Co-ordinator said: "Due to the physical nature of football it was important for us to listen to the views of the young people on what they wanted to do through the month of Ramadan. This has proven to be successful and it has shown with attendances at sessions."
"The coaches have been excellent and have shown great enthusiasm in delivering sessions at these late hours. There are a few inclusion projects that go under the title of 'midnight leagues' but deliver up until 10pm - this is actually a provision until midnight which is a first for our sessions. In the future this will be the way to go for us when delivering through Ramadan."
Dean Grice, Regional Community Manager (North West) for The Football League Trust said: "This is a great example of an exceptionally forward thinking community trust really understanding the diverse make up of the community it is part of.
"James has done a great job of consulting with the local community and catering for their needs during the period of Ramadan, this has allowed the Kickz sessions to remain as popular as ever but more importantly has allowed the local Muslim community to carry on participating in the activities they so obviously enjoy, during this religious period."
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