Abdullah's Story: Getting Involved
The Get Involved project aims to provide playing and career pathways into sport specifically for the Asian community. We spoke to Abdullah who has started his Palace for Life journey.
Abdullah is a coach on the Palace for Life Foundation Get Involved project, but this hasn’t always been the case. He started as a participant at only 6 years old, before being introduced to coaching and volunteering, and now is a paid member of staff.
He told us more about his story, and how Palace for Life have helped him:
“My Palace for Life journey started as a 6 year old. I was a regular at Saturday football sessions up until about 14 when I realise playing wasn’t really for me. I knew I wanted a career in football, but not to play, so I thought coaching was the way.
I started to volunteer at the Saturday sessions with coach Jermaine, before I was introduced to Hazmi and his Get Involved project which helps to engage Asians in football. I volunteered with Hazmi at his sessions for 2 years, before Palace put me through my FA Level 1 and I’m now a paid coach on these sessions.
The Foundation has really helped me with my confidence. I realised that when you talk to people it can up your confidence. It’s helped me to make new friends and has given me people to help support with whatever I’m going through.
I’d like to thank Palace coach Jermaine, who got me into coaching and let me know this could be a career opportunity for me. I also need to thank Hazmi, he got me my FA Level 1, and through the Asian community he has made me feel so welcome. I used to have confidence issues, but now by being a part of the Asian community projects, and being introduced to and playing with different people; it has helped me to improve. I have Palace for Life, Hazmi and Jermaine to thank for that.”
Get Involved project lead Hazmi Bahrin acts as a mentor to Abdullah, he told us about some of the changes he’s seen in the young coach:
“He came along to the first sessions and was really shy at first, he was really quiet. But every single time he does a session he comes more out of his shell. He engages with the participants a lot and now they’re really starting to see him as a role model for what they could achieve when they get older.
It’s so nice to see the changes in him. When he first started he always had a serious look on his face. But now we see him open up more, he’s smiling when he gets to sessions and actually expresses how he feels instead of the serious look which probably came from him being nervous or anxious about the session.
I’m so proud that we are able to help him and support his journey into coaching.”
The Get Involved programme aims to increase physical activity specifically in those from Asian backgrounds by removing barriers these individuals may have previously had had to sport.
Palace for Life maintain dialogue with the local community to ensure spaces are truly inclusive through means such as female only sessions, incorporating prayer time into sessions, moving sessions around the breaking of fast during Ramadan, and sessions for different ages and abilities.
To find out more about the Get Involved programme, visit palaceforlife.org and search: ‘Get Involved’.