Rochdale’s SFA hosts annual awards

GOING BATTY: Halifax Tigers won a Sports For All award for fair play in a charity cricket competition

A ROCHDALE sports charity which works to build links between communities has given awards to local people.

Sports For All (SFA) hosted its 10th annual awards presentation evening at Touchstones in Rochdale on 13 February 2010 to celebrate everything it achieved with the help of local people over the past 12 months.

Guests included Paul Rowen MP, the commander of Greater Manchester Police in Rochdale John O’Hare, the mayor and mayoress of Rochdale, a number Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) officers, diverse faith leaders, youth group representatives, and a host of well-wishers.

The event celebrated the sporting success of young and different people from Rochdale, and remembered those who have made a significant contribution to the town.

“It was delightful to see so many people support, mingle and enjoy the focus on community cohesion in Rochdale. It utterly negates those people who say it doesn’t and can’t happen,” SFA chair Asif Rafiq told Manchester Mouth.

The evening began with Andy Zuntz, RMBC’s exec director, paying a warm tribute to the late CEO of Kashmir Youth Project Ismail Fulat, who passed away on 2 December 2009. His outstanding role in local regeneration and personal innovations were highlighted.

SFA’s Mohammad Nazir also paid tribute to Fulat’s support for community groups. Nazir acknowledged all the help and advice that Fulat had given to SFA and said that he had made a huge contribution towards making the organisation a success. He also presented Fulat’s son Hussain with a gift on behalf of the charity.

Comm O’ Hare then spoke about SFA’s Alliance Shield, an annual football match which is played between the police and representatives from the local Asian community.

He said that the match, which was played in June 2009, had built ties between the two groups and that two young Asian men had joined the force as a direct result of the friendship that the match had created.

Rafiq then acknowleged the new partnership between SFA and Roca Juniors FC, who play in the Rochdale Alliance Premier Division, by asking the mayor and mayoress to present the football club with a new kit.

Juniors’s manager Mohammed Neuman was also presented with a referee’s medal in recognition of his outstanding long-term contribution to SFA’s charity football tournament.

Cllr Greg Couzens and Mohammed Mushtaq, of Rochdale’s Council of Mosques, then presented The Indoor Cricket Shield to Idara All-stars, who won the tournament for the second time in their history this year. Halifax Tigers were given a Fair Play Award for their role in this year’s tournament, which took place in December.

Other winners on the night included Link 4 Life’s Dean Sohra and Cllr Ibrar Khan, who both picked up a Community Recognition Awards, and Mohammad Sharif Baleem who was given the Lifetime Services to the Community Award for his 30-year commitment to educating young people.

Rafiq said: “Baleem’s award and the tribute to Ismail Fulet remind us of what can be achieved by everyone genuinely working together.

“Our aim is to strengthen community cohesion, and we will continue to take inspiration from both the memory of our dear friend, the late Ismail Fulat, and from true community champions like Mohammed Sharif Baleem.“

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