Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Ensuring the full spectrum of society has access and opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity is a high priority for all partners in this area. The recently published Sport England Strategy, Uniting the Movement has tackling inequality at its heart, and as such many sector organisations are focusing on some or all of the known demographic challenges. For BaseballSoftballUK we have set out plans to prioritise work in the following key groups: Disability, Women & Girls and Lower Socio Economic Groups.
Our to engage people with a disability will initially focus on Blind Baseball. This is a growing area of focus in baseball, both domestically and globally. The World Baseball Softball Congress are working hard create opportunities for Blind Baseball programmes to be established.
Working with the British Blind Baseball Association and British Blind Sport, several taster sessions have been stated across the UK. Sessions to date have taken place in Manchester, Cardiff and Farnham Park. Our aim is to create eight teams across the country, culminating in an annua tournament taking place at Farnham Park.
BaseballSoftballUK have also been with Disability Sports Coach to add baseball to their community club programme, serving the needs of young people with learning disabilities. To date, BaseballSoftballUK has worked with DSWC to establish 12 such programme, all in London.
Our work to engage people from Lower Socio-Economic groups has focused on the legacy plans from staging the MLB London Series in 2019. Focusing on communities in the 6 London Boroughs immediately surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, host venue for the MLB London Series Games, we have been working to establish Pop-Up Baseball clubs. Working with existing community groups, we have partnered with Street Games to add baseball into their offer of activity for young people. To date 25 clubs have been established and the activity has been received very positively by all involved. The programme was delivered through funding secured from both the Greater London Authority and Sport England Major Event Legacy Funds. Plans are in place to expand the delivery of these, utilising any future MLB London Series games to engage community members across East London and beyond.
Women and Girls
Using fastpitch softball predominantly, BaseballSoftballUK has set out to engage a whole new cohort of girls to play a striking and fielding game. Focusing work around Farnham Park National Baseball and Softball complex, plans are in place to engage 25 Secondary Schools, each establishing extra-curricular programmes and school teams. They will come together to play in a central venue competition at Farnham Park in June and July and a community club will also be formed to extent the offer to play. Plans are also underway to create a national girls fastpitch programme. It will be piloted in the following locations in summer 2022: Milton Keynes, Farnham Park, London & Sussex. It will contain equipment, teacher training and resource cards for them to lead high quality and engaging sessions for their students. It will be aimed at girls in years 7, 8 &9 initially.
Our work to engage people from ethnically diverse backgrounds has yet to be fully scoped out. We know from our own insight that people from a myriad of ethnic diversities are engaged in our baseball and softball playing community. Initial thoughts are turning to the opportunity that the forthcoming MLB London Series will bring, particularly to those communities located in and around East London. The Community Pop Up Clubs have proved to be a popular programme, engaging players into a fun and enjoyable initial baseball experience. Further research and data capture are required to fully understand the opportunities available – and will in most likelihood be linked to delivery of programmes with other under-represented groups. Our approaches will cover all aspects of the sports including playing, volunteering and officiating and are likely to focus on those community groups who may have a cultural appreciation of baseball and softball already
For further details please contact us