Dina Asher-Smith and SPAR Team Up to Reward Local Hero as part of SPAR’s ‘People’s Podium’ Campaign

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.Spar-PP-ZahraDina-45

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.”

You can see the meeting of Dina and Zahra in a new video that can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/SPARintheUK/videos/2243858459181133/

Key excerpts from the pair’s meeting include:

Dina Asher-Smith – “It’s essential that we recognise people like Zahra because the work she does and how selfless she is and give her time and her focus and commitment to the community, that is what sport itself is built on. We’re always quick to talk about people on television but ultimately, the reason so many people exercise and do sport is the joy they get out of it and the feelings it gives you afterwards and Zahra and the work she’s doing in her community is what sport is built on. If it wasn’t for people like her, people’s lives wouldn’t be as enriched. I firmly believe she’s a more than worthy winner and it’s been an absolute privilege for me to be able to give her the award. It’s great to recognise her as part of the SPAR People’s Podium.”


Zahra Butt – “It’s been absolutely sensational to come to Birmingham. I couldn’t have ever dreamed of a day like this. It’s been absolutely perfect. Meeting Dina Asher-Smith, she’s such an amazing athlete and she is such an amazing person and listening to her story as well. I couldn’t believe that she thought I was an inspiration, I nearly fainted! It was so surreal. I cannot put it into words. It’s very humbling to listen to her and for her to say such nice things about me is incredible. Winning SPAR’s people’s podium award has been amazing because it has given me the opportunity to give back again. It’s given me the strength, the resilience and the faith I needed to carry on the work that I’m doing and it’s great to have been honoured like this.”


To learn more about SPAR and the Peoples Podium campaign, visit https://www.spar.co.uk/peoples-podium.


SPAR is the UK’s leading convenience symbol group with combined turnover in excess of £12 billion.

SPAR services over 2,600 stores and employs over 40,000 people.

SPAR celebrated its 60th anniversary in the UK in 2017.

SPAR is a symbol group, which means individual SPAR retailer members remain independent but enjoy access to the brands collective buying and marketing.

Every SPAR store is tailored to suit the needs of its local community wherever it serves, offering a genuinely local experience for shoppers.

For more information visit SPAR at www.spar.co.uk 

Twitter and Facebook – @SPARintheUK

UK Athletics

UK Athletics is the national governing body of the leading Olympic and Paralympic sport in Britain. British Athletics is the sport we represent, the people, the athletes, the fans, the team.

We work closely with the home countries to develop and grow all areas of the sport including elite performance, coaching, major international events, competition and grassroots programmes within schools and clubs.

Author: kimbarnard

Share This Post On