For 2019 the Vitality Big Half have launched the new campaign – MovedByLondon – to get people of all backgrounds into running. The organisers want these events to better reflect the London communities they run through.
In a special move this year six inspiring Community Champions have been chosen to spearhead the campaign.
This includes Shadwell local Aftar Ali who helped set up the Sporting Foundation (formerly known as the Bangladeshi Football Association) to work with young people in Tower Hamlets, engaging them with sport and physical activity.
Aftar is very active in the community as a charity advocate, volunteer, celebrated footballer and coach.
Speaking about his participation in The Big Half Aftar commented, “I’m a local boy and live, breathe and sleep Tower Hamlets. I feel the joy and the heartache and I’m glad I have a chance to highlight the fantastic things which happen in Tower Hamlets.
“This is a rich, diverse and united place to live. It’s fun and carefree. We have issues like any other areas like unemployment, crime, education and drugs but at least we are working hard to change things.
“As part of the Sporting Foundation I’m lucky that I have. Fantastic team behind me who have guided, encouraged and supported me all my life. It is because of my respected elder colleagues that I am now able to give something back and I’m really proud that I can do something everyday to help develop my community.
“I’m running The Big Half for the Sporting Foundation. Amongst many things we use football to promote well being and development in the community and our efforts have been really successful because of the tenacity and single mindedness of our volunteers.”
Aftar is a real grassroots hero who invests countless hours with his colleagues to work towards the greater good. He and the team are never far from charitable initiatives taking place in Tower Hamlets and beyond.
Such is the reach and influence of the beautiful game that the fact that the team mostly use football to spread and promote a united message of unity, togetherness and peace is indeed a great achievement and one which can be studied and replicated in virtually any neighbourhood in the world.
The Sporting Foundation (SF) is a leading, successful, innovative and dynamic organisation which inspires and transforms people’s lives through the power of sport and community engagement.
It is one of the biggest community sports organisations in the UK. The total number of direct and indirect beneficiaries is estimated to be around 55,000 annually.
Children, young people, adults, male and female and people from over 50 different ethnic backgrounds partake in its various activities.