// Begin remove Divi Blog Module featured image crop function pa_blog_image_width($width) { return '9999'; } function pa_blog_image_height($height) { return '9999'; } add_filter( 'et_pb_blog_image_width', 'pa_blog_image_width' ); add_filter( 'et_pb_blog_image_height', 'pa_blog_image_height' ); // End remove Divi Blog Module featured image crop

Lloyd’s Special Brew: British Basketball’s funding conundrum (with extra Al Chall)

18th March, 2024 | News | 0 comments

As we head into the Panthers game this week we face a team that only beat us with a half-court three at the death last time out.

We know what Ellesmere Port Panthers can do – especially Josh McGinn who hit that shot – and for me it’s quite simple. We have to do exactly what we did last time but put that little extra effort into stopping that shot . It sounds really specific, and games don’t always boil down to one incident.

They have other weapons too, PK (Paul Kelly) and Maccy (Richard McNutt) are dangerous plus they have a current BBL player among their ranks (Dan Rudd) so you know they are going to be in the game to the end and that little bit of concentration and identifying the dangers will be critical.

We’ve been looking at recruitment and our numbers recently, which has been great this year – but success in recruitment brings its own challenges. One of those is maintaining the number of new faces we see as old ones occasionally retire and the the club cntinues to grow.

One way is through youth, but we don’t currently have a youth system in place – although discussions are always ongoing about the possibility. The question is, how does the game generally continue to attract young players to ensure it has a future?

There are a number of great youth programmes around the North Wales Basketball Association. Mold Magic have run one formany years, Wrexham Warriors, Caernarfon Celts and now Cheshire Raptors all have programmes up and running for kids.

Basketball nationwide is the second most participated sport in the country for young people, but most typically walk away from the game before they hit 20.

Part of the problem I think is the lack of funding. There’s not enough funding to start up grassroots clubs and leagues. I’d love nothing more than for the Brewers to be inviolved in youth basketball but the cost and the number of willing volunteers at the moment makes it unworkable.

Investment would make it easier but, because basketball doesn’t win medals at the Olympics, we don’t get any funding.

Because it’s not a ‘posh’ sport like equestrianism and rowing that get tonnes of money, basketball – as an ‘urban’ sport – gets no funding. There are so few amateur clubs round here. The best players get to Cheshire Phoenix and once they reach a certain point where they maybe won’t make it to the BBL, they are just lost from the sport because there’s nowhere for them to go.

For those older players just coming out of youth basketball I like to think we have given them a place to go for the last decade, and we will continue to do so. But the game needs more funding. Funding a basketball club supports the physical and mental health of 20, 30, 40 or more people. Funding rowing supports a tiny fraction of that.

Another issue for the clubs and leagues that do exist is lack of exposure. We’ve been going 12 years, Mold have been going maybe 20 or more yet there are still people who do not know there is a Norh Wales Basketball Association, or that there is a basketball club in Chester.

We can do all the promoting we want through social media and our team are brilliant at that, but there isn’t the funding or volunteers for a club to start from the bottom and build up in the way we did way back when and it’s a problem for the entire game.

This week we were also joined by one of those who has volunteered to help run the Brewers – Welfare Officer Al Challinor.

‘I’ve been with the club for 11 years and as it grew I wanted to help ensure that things were being done properly and that we were creating a safe space for anyone who wants to play.

As younger players and even female players gravitated towards us we needed someone to take responsibility for welfare – for making sure that everyone felt happy and comfortable and that we weren’t placing anyone at risk due to carelessness or a lack of clear processes.

It’s been an interesting time and we have formalised a lot of things that we were doing as a matter of course anyway, so ensuring we have the right consent for actovities around the club like contacting players and social media content.

Making sure we have those things in place means we can move quickly and seamlessly into the next phase of growth for the club which is exciting.

I still get to enjoy playing too, but volunteering is helping me to have an influence beyond the court on a club that hopefully will be a positive factor in people’s lives for many years to come.’

Lloyd’s Special Brew is brought to you in association with Quarry & Castle Business Improvement Consultancy.