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The National Association of Karate Martial Art Schools has achieved the Equality Standard a Framework for Sport: Intermediate Level status, becoming only the sixth British sporting organisation to achieve to accolade, which recognises high standards in sports equality.

The Equality Standard for Sport is framework for assisting sports organisations to widen access and reduce inequalities in sport and physical activity from under represented individuals, groups and communities.

Since NAKMAS secured the Equality Standard: Preliminary Level the organisation has been working towards achieving Intermediate Level. The martial arts governing body joins The Football Association, Amateur Swimming Association, British Swimming, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and UK Sport in achieving the intermediate status.

Joe Ellis, chair of NAKMAS, said: “We are delighted to have achieved Equality Standard Intermediate Level. It is recognition of our commitment to making martial arts available and accessible to all. It also shows that NAKMAS is an organisation that keeps on developing and improving its equality and diversity initiatives, which the Equality Standard recognises.

“When you look at the other sports bodies that have achieved Intermediate Level it shows that we are amongst the elite of sports organisations which have embraced equality in sport. The fact there are so few who have achieved this status reflects the high standards demanded by the Equality Standard benchmark.”

Sandra Beale-Ellis, NAKMAS Director of Operations, says: “This is more than simply good public relations or a hollow demonstration of NAKMAS commitment to social responsibility. We have initiated and implemented a myriad of inclusive measures across the entire NAKMAS organisation to secure this equality standard. What that means in reality and in NAKMAS affiliated clubs around the country is that people, who might not have had the opportunity to enjoy martial arts for whatever reason, can do so now.

“It doesn’t stop here. We not only want to achieve the advanced level, we want martial arts to have no barriers at all to anyone.”

Of the six bodies that have achieved Intermediate Level, only LOCOG has so far met the advanced equality standard. However, NAKMAS is confident that despite not having the larger financial backing of other organisations, it can make the grade.

Roger Clifton, Equality Standard Advisor, said: "NAKMAS continues to prove that organisations do not need huge resources to operate in an equitable way and that a committed band of volunteers, alongside a methodical approach from a small number of staff, can achieve remarkable results. With less than a year to go to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, NAKMAS would certainly be challenging other sporting organisations for an equality medal if there was one available."

Sallie Barker, Head of Services at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “We are delighted that the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers of NAKMAS has been rewarded. The Intermediate level of the Standard involves demonstrating that equality is at the forefront of an organisation’s thinking, and NAKMAS has clearly shown this in its commitment to equality. Congratulations to all those involved, and we look forward to working with NAKMAS further on its equality goals.”

Amongst the range of NAKMAS equality initiatives are its Equality Awareness Module - the home study module for NAKMAS management, staff and coaches to study sport equality and NAKMAS equality policy, and part of the NAKMAS Training Programme. NAKMAS has also thrown its weight behind autism awareness in sport, the Safe Kids Campaign to provide safe training for young people, and signed up to the Tackling Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport: The Charter for Action.

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Notes to editors:

Find out more about NAKMAS at www.nakmas.org.uk

NAKMAS has secured the Equality Standard: A Framework for Sport. To find out more about Equality Standard: A Framework for Sport at www.equalitystandard.org

The National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools (NAKMAS) National Governing Body is a non-funded national governing body and is a member of Sport & Recreation Alliance (formerly known as the CCPR). With its Head Office based in Kent, NAKMAS governs all forms of traditional and modern martial arts and has over 65,000 members within the UK.

NAKMAS is an approved insurance provider by ACE Europe and Hiscox and holds a National and International Quality Standard Certificate via the BSI (British Standards Institute).

For further information, please contact:

Joe Ellis, Chair of the NAKMAS National Governing Body
Tel: 01227 370055 / 07976 736404
Fax: 01227 370056
Email: joe.ellis@nakmas.org.uk
Site: www.nakmas.org.uk

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