Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee

To drive our ambitions as set out in our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy, Badminton England have appointed an EDI Committee, bringing together expert representatives across equality, diversity and inclusion to advise on the future development, implementation and monitoring of our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. The Committee are supporting and informing, through expert knowledge, guidance, insight and challenge, delivery of Badminton England’s EDI Strategy and the annual Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, as required under the terms of the Code for Sports Governance.

The EDI Committee adhere to a Code of Conduct and Terms of Reference have been set out for the group.

Meet our EDI Committee

Kate Aldridge

Kate Aldridge – Board Director & EDI Committee Chair

Kate is currently Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Director at the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). She passionately believes in the power of sport to positively impact people’s lives and is committed to helping make sport more inclusive and accessible for everyone. Her first project at the ECB was developing their Transform women’s and girls’ cricket action plan which has led to huge grow in the profile and engagement with the women’s game. She currently leads a team delivering equity, diversity & inclusion (EDI) initiatives across the whole game.

After a year on the Badminton England EDI Committee, she joined the Board as Non-Executive Director in 2023 to help drive progress around EDI across badminton. Alongside this role she is a committed mentor as part of the University of Bath’s Widening Participation scholarship programme.

Kate was a keen badminton player as a teenager, playing in County competitions and local adult leagues across Sussex and Kent. Although she’s lost most of her racket skills in the intervening years, she’s enjoying the opportunity to be involved in the game again.

Leanne Brown

Leanne Brown – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Manager at Badminton England

Leanne is the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Manager at Badminton England. She played a key role in the development of Badminton England’s first Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Strategy, and her role is to drive delivery of this Strategy; lead cultural change across the organisation, with our key stakeholders, and the wider badminton eco-system; increase the inclusivity and diversity of badminton; and tackle inequalities through embedding inclusive practice.

A qualified tutor and assessor, Leanne delivers and assesses Badminton England’s Coach Education courses, alongside being a Level 2 Badminton Coach. She is a badminton player and a keen volunteer, having volunteered at multiple major events including London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and more recently, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Leanne brings her expertise in equality, diversity, and inclusion from across the badminton landscape to lead, shape and champion the work of Badminton England’s EDI Committee.

“I’m really excited to work with the EDI Committee – The skills, experience, and passion that each member brings inspires me, and their enthusiasm to make a difference will enhance the development of our sport within the EDI space.”

Bhavni Shah

Bhavni Shah – Member

Bhavni has extensive experience as a senior policy adviser in central government at HM Treasury and Cabinet Office. This includes working on specialist policy matters on financial stability, operational resilience, COVID-19 employment schemes. Bhavni has worked with a wide range of stakeholders including Bank of England, UK financial regulators, No. 10, various UK government departments, and international partners such as United Nations and US Treasury.

Bhavni’s life-long passion for gender equality, diversity and creating an inclusive society guided her to work with the Treasury’s Diversity Board. Here she helped set the policy on gender pay gap reporting. This led her to work within the Cabinet Office’s Race Disparity Unit, an initiative under the former Prime Minister Theresa May. A key remit of this role was to tackle ethnic disparities experienced across public services and improve outcomes for citizens. Bhavni’s team won the Chris Martin Policy Award recognising excellence in domestic and international policy making. Bhavni is also a Crossing Thresholds’ mentor, helping women progress and develop their career in the Civil Service.

Bhavni has a passion for badminton from a young age and now helps run a local badminton club, where she is also a Welfare Officer. Bhavni is keen to promote badminton as a sport which can help transform physical and mental wellbeing for all. Wanting to increase the number of women members in her local club, she introduced women’s only sessions which engaged more women into the club, offering an inclusive, friendly, fun, safe and positive environment to play badminton.

“I am excited to be part of Badminton England’s EDI committee to help drive change by bringing ideas and perspectives from individuals of different backgrounds and ages. By making small changes together, we can enable real change in the badminton community to make it the nation’s most accessible, diverse, and inclusive sport.”

Dave Hardman

Dave Hardman – Member

Dave is young sport development professional paving his way as a top EDI leader in his field.

He has worked in sports development for over 10yrs and is currently the national inclusion lead at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), EDI advisor for the Sport For Development Coalition and Vice-Chair of Independent Lives – a disability independence charity based in Sussex.

A previous Essex county badminton player and coach, Dave has a real passion for making sport, particularly badminton, truly inclusive for all.

Farzana Sheikh

Farzana Sheikh – Member

I’m a primary school teacher and PSHE lead, with 17 years of teaching in a local school in East Ham. I have 5 children of my own who keep me busy! I went back to playing badminton after many years but getting fit and healthy was my main driver. The past few years, like for so many, has been a very difficult time impacting on mental well-being from young to old.  Playing badminton allows me the opportunity to celebrate being alive, to perform and to excel in my own abilities. At the beginning, being the only female in a predominantly male arena was extremely daunting for me further impacted by the fact that I wear a hijab. Seeing a Muslim woman playing sports was simply not a common image. To be accepted by others was a priority for me for a long time but after realising my own strengths and capabilities through meeting other females in sports gave me the confidence to push this out of my mind completely.

I am part of a number of clubs, some female only, some mixed, of varying playing abilities from beginner to intermediate and play at a number of leisure centres in and around East London. I also train in a group regularly to improve on my technique and footwork. After realising at my school, there were girls who were passive, who felt wearing a hijab was a barrier to entering into sport and suffered from low self-esteem, I realised that I was the perfect role model to show them that this didn’t have to be the case and so ran a badminton club to help improve their confidence. I am also part of a 65+ ladies only club where I volunteer to help to help improve members with their game.

I count myself extremely fortunate to have reached a platform now where I have the opportunity to network, to share my experiences and expertise with other females who have faced similar challenges and barriers in sport. I am firmly committed to raising awareness of females experiences in sport and removing barriers to play. Covid-19 has undoubtedly affected us all however, recently published Sport England Research has found that disabled people, people with long-term health conditions and people from Black, Asian, and other diverse ethnic communities have been disproportionately impacted. I believe through learning, understanding others’ experiences and being proactive in the community is a way forward to demonstrate sport should and can be inclusive for all.

Jess Canfield – Member

I am the Secretary and one of the lead coaches at Liskeard Junior and Inclusive Badminton Club in East Cornwall. I have been coaching for many years now and am passionate about ensuring there is equal opportunity for everyone to play; including sessions targeted at Mental Health and Wellbeing, and also Special Olympics/Para Badminton sessions. I am currently on Badminton England’s/Coaching UK’s Female Leadership and Performance Coaching course and was awarded Yonex Volunteer of the Year 2022.

I also play competitively for a local club as well as for the County.

Outside of Badminton I am a horse-riding instructor/trainer and am often competing my own horse!

Josh Rudd

Josh Rudd – Member

Josh is a personal development specialist and lifestyle coach, currently supporting British Swimming’s World Class Programme after their most successful Olympic Games in Tokyo. With previous experience in Higher Education, Josh has extensive knowledge in a range of sectors. He is a strong advocate for mental health and well-being, supporting athletes during their busy and demanding lives at the highest possible sporting level.

Josh also founded Pride in Water, a network for LGBT athletes, support staff, parents, and allies in aquatic sports. His insight spans a breadth of areas, offering unique perspectives and a fresh outlook to support individuals. He was recognised for his work in the EDI space by being awarded the EIS Innovation Award in 2020.

Kelly Metcalf

Kelly Metcalf – Member

I am the Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing for Fujitsu Europe. I am passionate about creating a culture where everyone can thrive and believe that diversity and inclusion are essentially connected to how we sustain wellbeing at work. I have been in this role for nearly 3 years, after a 16-year career at Fujitsu spent in European HR roles, Responsible Business and client management, always with a firm emphasis on culture and change. Prior to Fujitsu, I worked as an HR Graduate at BAE Systems.

I am delighted to be part of Badminton England’s EDI Committee. I want to help ensure that everyone has the support they need to play and enjoy Badminton and to progress professionally in the game if they wish to do so. I believe that ensuring opportunities for everyone to progress in the game and opening up access for all communities to play, will grow the impact that Badminton can have on societal wellbeing and ensure it is an even more sustainable sport for the future.

Rachel Choong

Rachel Choong – Member

Rachel is a para-badminton player competing in the SH6 Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events who joined the GB Programme in March 2022 and is working towards the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Competing since 2008, she has so far won 10 World Championship and 9 European Championship titles making her one of England’s most decorated players.

Rachel is passionate about Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, shown through her many ambassadorial roles with Asian Sports Foundation, Sporting Equals, Fundacja Bartłomieja Mroza (Poland), Badminton Europe Gender Equity, and her work with Women’s Sport Trust. Through these roles, Rachel has worked to positively impact participation levels of girls and young women in sport, promotes racial equality and champions para-badminton – making the sport accessible to everyone at all levels.

Rohan Mapara

Rohan Mapara – Member

I first began playing badminton at my family badminton club when I was six years old. The sport has been a constant in my life and a source of many friendships. Whilst at university I expanded the badminton society, increasing numbers and getting the team to the university national championships for the first time. I am a current county player and alongside this I partake in LGBTQIA+ badminton community tournaments and sessions such as Goslings and Bristol Swifts. I recently completed a Master’s Degree in Law and Gender where I specialised on the dissemination of Hate Speech on social media and the interaction of this with freedom of speech.

Previously I have served on an EDI Committee within the Civil Service where I organised and partook in events and wrote articles for the wider community. Additionally, I worked at a kids camp for non-disabled and disabled children at a spinal cord rehabilitation centre for five years. I am eager to use my experience of working with disabled and neurodiverse children to contribute towards the development of the Para Badminton pathway.

Ubaid Ul Rehman

Ubaid Ul-Rehman – Member

I’m Ubaid and I proudly identify as a Muslim British Pakistani gay man who has a hearing impairment. I’m a Senior Diversity and Inclusion Adviser for the College of Policing and have over 20 years of experience of working in, and with, the police service. Since 1999, I’ve led on, or been involved in, some form of ground-breaking diversity related piece of work such as co-founding the first UK based LGBT+ social support group for Muslims. For the last five years, I’ve been the chair of Goslings, London’s largest and most diverse LGBT+ badminton club, and won the Out for Sport LGBT+ Sports Role Model of the Year Award in 2019. I am an advisor on Tell MAMA’s London Advisory Board, working to ensure victims of hate crime have a voice and receive quality services. And, recently, I’ve been recruited on Badminton England’s EDI committee.

It is important badminton becomes the sport of choice for people from all backgrounds where they can have fun, get fit and feel good about themselves. It’s vital anyone can attend a badminton session and feel that none of their personal characteristics – such as their disability, their caring responsibilities, or their sexual orientation – will stop them from getting the most out of this sport we all love. I want to do my part to help make these environments the lived norm across badminton.

By being on Badminton England’s EDI committee, I will work with the team to deliver on their committed EDI strategic objectives that I believe will drive through the principles and behaviours needed to increase, value, and nurture the diversity across badminton clubs and improve inclusion where everyone can be who they are whilst playing badminton without fear of prejudice and discrimination.

For further information relating to Badminton England’s EDI Committee, please contact the Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI) Manager via inclusion@badmintonengland.co.uk

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