A HARTLEPOOL sports club is inviting local residents to get fit and focused, thanks to a grant from Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC.)
Hartlepool Huskies delivers basketball sessions at a series of pop-up events and club venues.
Sessions aim to introduce young people, aged six to 16, to basketball – but there’s also a chance for the adults to get involved as their children battle to take home Hartlepool’s Ward Takeover Championship Cup.
Funding worth £5,000 from the PCC will help the Huskies to deliver summer projects across all 13 council wards, in Hartlepool.
To show his support, Cleveland PCC Steve Turner dropped in on a training session at Hartlepool’s Mill House Leisure Centre.
As a young man, Steve represented the area, playing basketball at national level. He is still a massive fan of the sport.
Steve said: “Basketball is a great way of building team work and positive relationships.
“Being able to fund this programme enables me to give back to a sport, from which I’ve gained so much over the years.”
Steve believes that organised sport can help young people find a purpose and that it is a vital tool in combatting antisocial behaviour.
As a result, he now chairs a national committee aimed at showing how sport can help to prevent youth and serious crime.
OPCC funding will pay for coaching and equipment with a particular focus on areas of Hartlepool with the highest levels of deprivation and antisocial behaviour.
Ward Takeover Championship
The Huskies set up a small tournament in each of Hartlepool’s 13 wards with matches divided into primary and secondary age groups.
A winning primary and secondary age team then represents their ward at a combined event to crown the winners of Hartlepool’s Ward Takeover Championship Cup.
Typically, ward takeover matches take place in the afternoon – the peak hours for antisocial activity.
Alongside the cup, the Huskies will run three-day, summer camps. Camps will be aimed at the under-10s, under-12s and under-14/under-16s.
All young people taking part will be advised how they can continue to play basketball with local clubs after the cup concludes.
Participants will also be offered the chance to study towards coaching, table official and refereeing badges. The qualifications will enable them to take up weekend jobs in the sport.
Calvin George, Director of Basketball Operations, Huskies Basketball CiC, said: “The funding lets us run our summer programme and run basketball in every single ward of Hartlepool.
“It lets us engage with young people, who would not normally have access to or any ability in sport, let alone basketball.”
In addition to engaging with young people, The Huskies also want parents and guardians to get involved.
They offer a “walking basketball” introduction to the sport, for those who have never played before.
Like their children, adults will be offered ways to get involved in the sport close to their homes. They will also be able to study towards sporting qualifications, which could lead to part-time employment.