Ahmed builds community bridges

A 17-year-old student has organised sporting activities for youngsters in an effort to build bridges between communities in the city.

Ahmad Asghar has launched the Get Involved project in Derbyshire to offer free cricket and football sessions to help build community cohesion.

The three-month initiative, which has received £500 from youth volunteering charity V, aims to aid community cohesion by appealing to teenagers from different backgrounds.

Individuals will be able to take part in the sports sessions free of charge. Ahmad, who is studying a BTEC in software engineering and IT in Derby is appealing for youngsters aged 14 to 20 to come forward and take part.

He said he set up the project after identifying a need for more sports activities in the city centre.

"The project will involve getting different people from different communities involved and playing together," said Ahmad.

"The response to Get Involved has been overwhelming. I want to make a difference to people's lives in Derby.

"It's great to be able to turn my idea into something that can make a difference to other people."

Equipment has already been bought with the £500 grant, which is only given to community projects run by people aged 16 to 25. It includes footballs, goalposts, cricket bats, balls and wickets.

"I already volunteer for Derby CVS, I'm part of the youth action team. The idea for this came about during the summer holidays.

"I couldn't get a job so I wanted to do some volunteering. I thought it would be beneficial as I could put it on my CV. Then I saw an advert for the grants.

"I've already been on a three-day residential in Castleton, where I took part in drystone walling, tree-felling and cleaning up allotments.

"Volunteering definitely helps develop your personal skills and teaches you things you cannot learn in school."

V is a youth volunteering charity launched in May 2006 with a mission to inspire a new generation of young volunteers in England.

Terry Ryall, chief executive of V, commended the project set up by Ahmad: "This initiative is typical of the enthusiasm and creativity of people like Ahmad, who are passionate about setting up projects to make something better in their community.

"They bring a fresh perspective and fantastic new ideas and we are delighted to be able to support this kind of innovation."