Basketball is being played by more young people than ever before in the Greater Bristol area thanks to Bristol Sport Foundation’s Flyers Community programmes.
The Foundation delivered basketball to 13,432 children during the 2022/23 academic year, almost double the figure in 2021/22 when 6,912 received basketball delivery and more than four times the number recorded across the 2020/21 academic year (3,051).
Children who received basketball sessions each term through the Foundation’s Forever Sport and Health Squad curriculum delivery increased to 8,928 in 2022/23 from 3,780 pupils in 2021/22, including the delivery of the British Basketball League’s Ambassadors Project in 30 schools.
The introduction of a new girls’ hub at St Mary’s Redcliffe Temple also ensured Community Development Hubs scaled new heights over the last academic year, with 1,749 children attending hubs across the six terms including the popular Flyers Basketball Centre at Cotham.
Player Development Pathway (PDP) sessions for Under 14s at Orchard School also exceeded previous demand, with 118 young people attending in 2022/23 compared to 49 in 2021/22, while a new PDP programme for U16s was attended by 93 children in total.
Meanwhile, Flyers Holiday Camps attracted almost 2,500 attendees across the last academic year, an increase of 34.23% on 2021/22 when 1,665 children enjoyed basketball camps.
Project Take Off, which supports children from low-income families to start a lifelong enjoyment of basketball by removing barriers to participation, also ensured that 74 young people were able to attend Flyers Holiday Camps in the 2022/23 academic year.
Tom Monks, Bristol Sport Foundation Director of Programmes, said:
“We are delighted with the popularity of our Bristol Flyers Community programmes. Expertly led by Mike English, BSF and Flyers Community Delivery Manager, our Flyers Community coaches are outstanding at engaging and inspiring children and young people to fall in love with basketball and to help them grow into well rounded people as well as athletes. The growth of Forever Sport, our primary school PE and sport coaching programme, enabled us to reach 8,928 school children through basketball PE lessons, after school clubs, our Health Squad PSHE programme and the BBL’s Ambassadors Project during the 2022-23 academic year.
“These introductory basketball opportunities, delivered across Greater Bristol, are opening children’s eyes to the sport and inspiring them to attend our open participation hubs and holiday camps. With the development of the Sports and Convention Centre (SCC) at Ashton Gate, the new home for the Bristol Flyers, on the horizon, it is fantastic to see the appetite for grassroots basketball increasing year-on-year. As well as playing basketball and maximising their potential we hope that the children will be cheering on the Flyers with their families for years to come.”
Mike English, Bristol Sport Foundation & Flyers Community Delivery Manager, said:
“It has been amazing to see the growth of all the Flyers Community programmes over the last two years. The fantastic numbers are testament to the fantastic work of all of our Flyers Community coaches. Basketball is growing in popularity across the city and demand for spaces is high! It is exciting the potential growth that is available. We have already added an U12s PDP for the 23/24 academic year and are looking to expand are hub programme to enable more children from across Great Bristol to access our Flyers Community sessions.”
To find out more about the work of the Bristol Sport Foundation and the Flyers Community programmes, visit www.bristolsportfoundation.org