Birmingham badminton hero
107. Pritesh Pattni
The life-force of a Birmingham badminton club has used the sport to bring together over 400 people from all walks of life in his local community.
Pritesh Pattni has dedicated his free time to supporting the underprivileged in the diverse area of Aston by running sports sessions, lessons in life skills, mentoring, raising employment opportunities and building community resilience through his work with the Bidgley Power Foundation.
Alongside his regular job running a petrol station in Ladywood, Pritesh has been a sports volunteer for over 28 years and is Chair of the Bidgley Power Foundation, a charity that works with young and disabled people through sport and educational mentoring.
Bidgley Power Badminton Club started in the 1970’s with a small group of Bangladeshi restaurant workers. From humble beginnings the club now has 21 BME sports coaches and works with over 300 participants a week. Pritesh has been an integral part of the club from the early days.
Pritesh is dedicated to promoting badminton in Birmingham and his enthusiasm has led him to develop new ways of engaging people through badminton, including helping to set up family sessions and successfully starting ten under-11’s badminton clubs in local primary schools. He helps to run one of the largest disability tournaments in the country which attracts 300 participants, and has developed a ‘coaches council’ initiative which exists to support the development of new coaches and assist them in finding employment opportunities. Pritesh is also a trustee of Sport Birmingham, the community sport activation network, and the Royal Orthopaedic Research charity, where he tirelessly promotes better health through sport.
Out of the huge support for the badminton club grew the Bidgley Power Foundation, where Pritesh and many other dedicated members continue to inspire others to come forward and support the development of the diverse community, encouraging them to become first aiders, support youth activities and further local events that he helps to organise. The charity also runs the only youth group in the area and is helping to deliver sorts in 50 parks in Brimingham’s active parks programme.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Pritesh has channelled his passion for badminton into the local community. Thanks to his dedication and enthusiasm, hundreds of people from Aston have tried a new sport and become more involved in their local area.
“Pritesh’s commitment to developing the Coaches Council initiative is supporting local coaching talent to find work and many others are benefiting from his mentoring programme.
“I am truly honoured to be nominated for such a great award and would like to dedicate it to all of the wonderful people I have been lucky enough to work with over many years. We all lead busy lives but we can all give some time for our local community and I have been lucky enough to be the one who supports, encourages and asks people to give their time. It’s great to see that the government really believes and supports community volunteering.”
Cllr Shafique Shah, Lord Mayor of Birmingham said:
“Pritesh’s energy and enthusiasm to make a difference in his local community knows no limits. For over 25 years he has been motivating and mentoring people through the Bidgley Power Organisation in Aston.
“He set up the first disability badminton club in the West Midlands which he organises and coaches and more recently Pritesh has pioneered the Birmingham Badminton Festival. Working with colleagues at Birmingham City Council, this Festival is embedded in the Legacy Plan that was fundamental to retaining the All England Badminton Championships for the city.
“Pritesh continues to above and beyond for the benefit of others and we are thrilled that he has been rewarded by the Cabinet office of the Prime Minister with an award under the Points of Light Award.”
David Rose, Regional Delivery Manager at Badminton England said:
“Pritesh Pattni has played a huge part in the growth of Badminton participation across the City of Birmingham for over 25 years. Badminton has benefitted from his energy, enthusiasm and drive as well as his commitment to helping many inner city communities across Birmingham.
“Latterly Pritesh has played a major part in developing our City wide Legacy plan as we seek to exploit the opportunities created by the All England Championships and National Badminton League. The Point of Light Award is a fitting tribute to Pritesh and his team at Bidgeley Power Foundation and recognition for over 25 years of outstanding volunteering.”