Dina Asher-Smith teams up with reward local hero as part of Spar’s ‘People’s Podium’ campaign

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Zahra Butt with Dina Asher-Smith

SPAR, the UK’s leading independent convenience store group and partner of British Athletics, today teamed up with Dina Asher-Smith to celebrate one of the amazing individuals supporting community sport in the UK, as part of its People’s Podium campaign.

Zahra Butt, from Nottingham, is a boxing coach and pillar of the local community. Having joined a local gym following the birth of her son, Zahra discovered a love of boxing. But having found that local women were often daunted taking on a sport dominated by men, and that there were no female coaches in the region, Zahra took on the task of becoming fully qualified. She eventually became the 1st hijabi Boxing Coach. Having broken through gender and cultural barriers, Zahra now supports women in her community who have struggled against issues including domestic violence and gender inequality. Having been rewarded £2,000 by SPAR’s People’s Podium campaign, Zahra is planning to invest in training and developing more female boxing coaches in her local community.

To celebrate Zahra’s achievement, SPAR set her up with British sprint star Dina-Asher Smith at the Muller Grand Prix Birmingham, fresh from winning three gold medals at the recent European Championships. Asher-Smith, herself a vocal supporter of gender equality, said after meeting Zahra: “I was incredibly inspired meeting Zahra and hearing about the amazing work she’s done in her community. Gender equality in sport is something I am hugely passionate about and it is people like Zahra that are helping shift perceptions about women in sport whilst making a real difference at a grassroots level. I am really grateful for SPAR’s People’s Podium campaign for giving me the opportunity to meet Zahra and for the support it has given her and other people supporting sport in the UK.”

SPAR’s People’s Podium initiative is designed to recognise and reward individuals supporting community sport across the UK. The UK wide competition saw hundreds of people nominate the local people involved with incredible sporting projects in their region. Zahra is one of four winners to receive £2,000 for their local project, with one grand-prize winner – Mike Briggs of Dumfries Scotland – being rewarded £10,000. Zahra was awarded her prize by Dina Asher-Smith at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham.

With over 2600 stores across the UK, SPAR is at the heart of many local communities. SPAR’s People’s Podium campaign is a demonstration of the convenience store group’s commitment to always be there to support local people and their communities, anytime and anywhere.

Speaking at the event, Michael Lawless, interim brand & marketing director at SPAR UK said: “Zahra’s story is truly inspiring. The work she has done in her community has given people in difficult circumstances an outlet to exercise in a safe and friendly environment. We are delighted to be able to highlight the incredible work done by Zahra, and several other local sporting heroes, as part of our People’s Podium campaign, and we hope that it inspires more and more people to follow her wonderful example and support sport in their communities.”