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Birmingham LGBT and its Pride in Sports partners are helping more local LGBT people take up or return to sports and fitness activities, thanks to three years’ National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Community Sport Activation Fund.

To keep up-to-date with all our classes, including last-minute notifications, please follow our Twitter account, @birminghamlgbt.



Activate is a Sport England-funded project, designed to encourage LGBT people in the area to try new sports, and challenge homophobia in sport, after feedback that there was not enough provision for the community.




Thinking of taking up or returning to physical activity? 

The documented benefits of physical activity include less tension, stress and mental fatigue, a natural energy boost, improved sleep, a sense of achievement, focus in life and motivation, reduced anger or frustration, a healthy appetite and an improved social life. It can even be fun.

Activate classes and events are safe spaces for you to find out what suits you – at your pace. There are also excellent LGBT sports clubs and groups in the city so you can play badminton, football or rugby, and swim, run or walk with others.


Find out about our clinics

Activities in the Next Three Months



If you identify as trans or non binary please get in touch with us – we are creating a new group and would love for you to be involved! activate@blgbt.org.






Our weekly programme of free classes in the Vault at the Birmingham LGBT centre continues.

This includes a new WHOLE BODY FITNESS class on Monday evenings starting on 2 October 2017. High intensity interval training involves short intense bursts of exercise, with options for different levels of fitness.

Come along and give it a go!

Fitness Classes in the VAULT

Activate runs a number of FREE drop-in fitness sessions for all levels and abilities.

With classes throughout the whole week, from morning through to evening, you’re sure to find something you will enjoy and that will get you motivated.

If there’s something you’d like to see on the schedule, just tell us and we’ll do our best to add it to the programme.

All events are held within “The Vault” – our purpose fitted-out room for exercise. Vault equipment includes free weights, fitness mats, skipping ropes and table tennis. This facility is also available to book for your own workout sessions for two or more people.

Fitness instructors and personal trainers are welcome to hire The Vault to use with their clients.

Any questions? Contact us and we’ll do our best to help:

Email activate@blgbt.org

Tel 0121 643 0821







Whole Body Fitness 6pm-7pm


Yoga Beginners 11am-12pm
Table Tennis 6.30pm – 8pm


Pilates 8am – 9am
Social Hula Hoop 7pm to 8pm

Line Dancing 6.30pm to 9pm

Yoga 5.30pm – 6.30pm (Beginners)
Yoga 6.45pm – 7.45pm (Progression)

Boxercise Cancelled from October until further notice

Use The Vault for your own work out! Please email activate@blgbt.org for more information regarding personal use of the Vault (minimum of two people at any one time).

LGBT Sports Clubs

Birmingham and the West Midands host an amazing array of LGBT sports groups and clubs.

Even if you’ve never kicked a ball, donned a pair of shorts, held a bat or seen a swimming pool since you were a kid – great! Take your pick from our number of taster events; join in one or join the lot, no previous experience is required!

The groups want you to get involved, have some fun and exercise, with their support.

All groups are open to gay, lesbian, trans and bisexual people. The groups aim to be gay friendly, so if you want to bring a straight mate – just ask!

Birmingham Bulls Rugby Team

Birmingham Bulls RFC is a rugby club based in the heart of Birmingham’s gay village. We welcome new players at any time, regardless of age, experience, ability or sexuality.

The majority of players had never played until joining the club. Training is held twice a week at locations in the city centre with matches most weekends. For details of training dates, times and venues please visit the website.



Birmingham Blaze Football Team

Since 2005 Birmingham Blaze has welcomed and encouraged all people to play football regardless of sexuality and whether they have played before. They offer coaching and regular games.




Moseley Shoals Swim Group

Moseley Shoals has been swimming around Birmingham since forming over 12 years ago. The group is friendly and social, offering the chance to meet up for a splash about or a rigorous swim.



Birmingham Bluefins Water Polo

Birmingham Bluefins is the water polo team of Moseley Shoals. Any swimmer can join and learn the rules of this fun team game.



Midlands Out Badminton

Playing in Birmingham since 2003. Whether a beginner or experienced player, enjoyment and participation are the aims of this friendly group.



Birmingham Swifts

Birmingham Swifts is an LGBT running group for Birmingham. We’re open to everyone, no matter what your ability, age, sexuality or gender. It’s our aim to help you achieve your running goals in a friendly and supportive environment, whether you want to run a marathon or your first 5K. The Swifts are led by an England Athletics approved run leader, and our runs start from Birmingham city centre. Please contact us for more information about our runs.



Outdoor Lads

The UK’s most social group for gay and bisexual men who love the Great Outdoors. They organise hiking, camping, climbing, hostelling, biking, canoeing, sailing and skiing events – as well as one-off international trips and more hard-core “challenge” events. It doesn’t matter whether you are a total beginner or a well-hardened outdoor enthusiast – they have something for everyone.



LGBT Table Tennis Club

A friendly group meeting every Tuesday at Birmingham LGBT.

Explore Walking and Cycling

Boot Women

Boot Women is a walking group for women, primarily lesbians, based in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. Their long established monthly weekend walks are carefully planned and vary in distance and difficulty – both clearly stated in advance.



Rainbow Rambles

Rainbow Rambles take place six times a year, usually on Saturdays. These are easy, short walks in and around Birmingham which are popular with a wide variety of people from beginners to more experienced walkers. The usual start time is 11am with a duration of two to four hours and are accessible by public transport. As well as visiting fascinating places there is the opportunity to meet new people and make good friends.

Future Dates for 2017:

Saturday 30th December – City Centre

Contact Andrew rainbowramblesuk@gmail.com  for more details



FREE rides to suit your skills and stamina every month, led by trained cycle leaders. Bicycles are available to borrow.

Cycling Instruction

Free one-to-one or small group instruction available on request; all abilities from complete beginners to people just wanting a bit of practice and some tips to gain more confidence. Locations to suit you – bicycles are available to borrow.

Contact us at activate@blgbt.org for more information regarding all cycling activities.

Your Fitness Stories

LGBT, local to Birmingham, and enjoy sport and exercise? We’re looking for more people to share their experiences. Drop us an email: activate@blgbt.org

(Responses here are in the words of the interviewees and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Birmingham LGBT)


Roller Derby

Three LGBT roller derby skaters talk about their sport.

Roller derby is a contact sport played on quad skates on an indoor track.

Heather, 23

How did you get involved with roller derby, Heather?
I haven’t played a sport since I was a kid and I missed it so I was looking into local options. Met some of the Birmingham Blitz Dames at the Pride in Sport event, they were so enthusiastic about derby and it sounded super interesting (and also required no experience!) so I wrote my email down and went to watch a session.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?
Only going to the gym once or twice a week.

What do you love about it?
The training sessions are fun and whilst learning to skate is really challenging, it means even small amounts of progress makes you feel great. So far everyone has been so nice and the coaches are supportive. Also, the bouts are unlike anything I’ve ever watched before and seeing the dedication and enthusiasm of the league members is inspiring.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about giving roller derby a go?
Go for it! You meet some great people in a welcoming environment and get have a ton of fun whilst challenging yourself!


Tess wearing a Birmingham Blitz Dames vest and holding a helmetTess Sting, 59

How did you get involved with roller derby, Tess?
A former workmate mentioned that she was involved with roller derby, and eventually (two years later) I looked into it – I wish I’d done so immediately!

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?
No, I’d never been sporty in my life, and was very unfit before getting involved
with the derby scene.

What do you love about it?
The derby scene is very egalitarian, and great fun, and derby is a fantastic spectator sport. And derby succeeded in keeping me at my efforts to get fitter where nothing else had!

Tess on skates wearing helmet and pads

Tess at a roller derby training session

What would you say to someone who was thinking about giving roller derby a go?
Go for it. Absolutely go for it. You will not find a more welcoming scene for LGBTQ+ people anywhere. I am myself both trans and lesbian, and neither has been any kind of issue, let alone a problem. All folk in the derby scene care about is “do you love derby?”, and if you’re trans and want to skate, you just pick a league appropriate for the gender you identify with (so far as derby is concerned) so if you’re MTF you join a women’s league, if you’re FTM, you join a men’s league. If you don’t want to (or can’t) skate but instead want to help out officiating and setting up for bouts, then it doesn’t matter what gender you are.

Getting involved with derby is the single best thing I’ve ever done. I had a lot of problems, especially socially, when I got involved with derby, and the derby scene gave me the self-confidence to tackle them, and I’m a much happier (as well as fitter!) woman today as a result.


Headshot of Kitty

Kitty: Photo by Morgan Silk

Veloskitty, 28
How did you get involved with roller derby, Kitty?
I was at a queer-focused riot-grrr night where my local league was in attendance doing promotion. I never actually spoke to them, but my girlfriend thought it was really cool so signed us both up (without telling me!). We both attended their newbie session and never really looked back. My partner has since stopped playing, but five years, seven countries and three continents later and I’m still skating.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?
At the time I was recovering from surgery so was really unfit, in a lot of pain and had a lot of muscle wastage. Prior to that I played hockey and did some rock climbing. Never really was much of a sportswoman though!

What do you love about it?
I love the sense of community within Roller Derby. Its one of the only communities I’ve ever been in where I can honestly say that diversity is not merely tolerated, but actively embraced and welcomed, rather than judged and demonised. I find that really rare within sports.

I also love the feeling of freedom I get when I strap on a pair of skates and go racing round dodging people.

Plus, there’s something great about hitting knocking someone flying when you’ve had a really bad day, only to then have them in hysterics and high five you for a great hit.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about giving roller derby a go?
The Birmingham Blitz Dames are one of the most amazing and lovely bunch of people I have ever met, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a group of people from such a diverse range of backgrounds. To my queer brothers, sisters and non-binary siblings I could not recommend derby (and the Blitz Dames) more emphatically! Come give it a go 🙂

[Also, check out the WFTDA and UKRDAs Inclusion policies – I promise you will be impressed!]

If you fancy giving roller derby a go, either as a derby skater or as a skating referee, there are several leagues in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Take a look at UK leagues (Wikipedia) and BBC’s Get Inspired: How to get into roller derby


Photo at the swimming pool

Michael Fitzhenry, 36

How did you start swimming, Michael?
I started as a toddler with my parents

How did you come to swim with the Shoals?
A friend started coming and encouraged me.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?
No, I wasn’t.

What do you love about it? 
The social side and camaraderie.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along? 
If you are not too fit – don’t worry, there’s no pressure, swim as much as you like – and it’s got an excellent social side.

Photo at the swimming poolJohn Shade, 35

How did you start swimming, John?
At school, I always liked it.

How did you come to swim with the Shoals?
Through another gay social club, where Shoals was mentioned.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?
Yes – Aikido.

What do you love about it? 
The social aspect and the encouragement to swim more, as well as the opportunity to play water polo.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along? 
Don’t worry if you can’t swim a lot – you’ll soon be swimming more.

Jim Clay, 42

How did you start swimming, Jim?
My mom took me as a baby.

How did you come to swim with the Shoals?
I was introduced by a friend.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?

What do you love about it? 
I love the social environment.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along? 
It’s very friendly, not intimidating, very relaxed really.

Photo taken at the poolDerren Naylor, 50

How did you start swimming, Derren?
At school but I hated it then!

How did you come to swim with the Shoals?
I moved to Brum and joined lots of clubs – I liked this one.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?
I was going to the gym.

What do you love about it? 
The community feel. My lovely friends here.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along? 
It’s a fantastic way to make friends.

Photo at the poolIain Waddell, 74

How did you start swimming, Iain?
As a child in Glasgow.

How did you come to swim with the Shoals?
I knew of it for a while before I got round to joining.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?
I go to the gym three times a week.

What do you love about it? 
The social aspect in particular.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along? 
I’d encourage them to come definitely.

If you can swim (however long it’s been) the Moseley Shoals, Birmingham’s LGBT swim group, is a great way to enjoy swimming in the city, offering three sessions a week without any joining fee or ongoing commitment. Your first swim is free.

Visit www.moseleyshoals.org.uk for session information.

If you’re new to swimming, start by taking a look at BBC’s Get Inspired: How to get into swimming and find lessons at a convenient pool: pools all over the midlands offer adult swimming lessons both in groups or individually.



Pride In Sport

A competitive event is held every year with teams and individuals gaining points for skills shown in a range of both familiar sports and new physical challenges.

Birmingham Wellbeing Service

The Wellbeing Service provides residents with the opportunity to be healthy and get active for free. It includes programmes and activities in leisure centres (now known as Wellbeing Centres), in parks (through initiatives such as Park Lives and Active Parks) and across the city through projects such as the Big Birmingham Bikes Programme (offering free bikes and bike hire). It includes a range of activities to improve health and wellbeing among the Birmingham population and for children and families, older people and people with specific health conditions i.e. diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression.

The service can be accessed through wellbeing centres, community centres, parks and open spaces. To find our more, visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/birminghamwellbeingservice

Canon Hill Park

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