Basketball England, the governing body for the sport in England, has tag-teamed with a national charity to positively impact the lives of disadvantaged and disabled young people across the country.
The organisations are joining forces to up-skill 150 coaches and volunteers to lead inclusive community basketball activities predicted – and hoped – to directly impact 1,500 participants.
Partnering with Access Sport, a national charity which trains, equips and supports community sports clubs to provide inclusive events, the scheme’s top priority is to diversify participation.
Tess Cinamon Duffield, Head of Programme for Access Sport said: “The national basketball scene is primed and ready to impact young people’s lives.
“Partnerships like this one empower local communities to use basketball to create tangible positive change.
“We are so excited to be working with Basketball England and look forward to achieving some of our ambitious targets.”
Basketball was chosen specifically after Sport England’s Active Lives data revealed it was the sport the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society were attracted to.
Activating basketball courts in disadvantaged communities is only one strand of the agenda, with attention also focused on training coaches and volunteers to provide inclusive sessions.
Basketball England’s Head of Participation, Peter Griffiths, said: “Basketball can change people’s lives.
“This partnership will ensure marginalised young people can access the sport and reap its mental and physical well-being benefits.”
An estimated 50,000 people from disadvantaged areas play regularly, but the majority of dilapidated and underutilised courts are located in underserved communities.
Basketball England’s club network will be used to maximise the reach of this work, ensuring communities most in need of support gain the access they deserve.
Both organisations are bound by a firm belief in the transformational benefits of community sport and acknowledge the need to make inclusivity the norm by tackling barriers to access.
Access Sport is dedicated to achieving this through direct grassroots involvement, consistently taking their expertise into local communities to create tailored inclusivity sports offers.
Basketball England similarly promotes basketball for all levels of participants – regardless of age or ability – and delivers a competitive outlet through leagues and tournaments.
The latest scheme builds on the momentum already established by the #ProjectSwish since 2019, which inspired and supported a range of court refurbs and installations, in areas including Clapham Common.
Access Sport was shortlisted for the ‘Sport for Social Change’ award in 2022 before Basketball England won the 2023 Bishop Lloyd Jackson Sport Organisation of the Year Award last month.