The power of community - the Isle of Wight gets a #ProjectSwish court

The Isle of Wight is the latest English county to experience Basketball England’s #ProjectSwish campaign.

Freshwater, a town situated on the west of England’s largest island, saw its basketball court receive a full refurbishment, costing £22,500.

The court was officially relaunched to the public in October and local players and councillors alike, and supported by SBB (Simply British Ballers), took part in a shooting skills and drills clinic run by the Isle of Wight Basketball Club (IOW Basketball).

Funds for the project were initially raised through Crowdfunding by IOW Basketball and the local community, with additional money contributed by the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation, Freshwater Parish Council, Tesco’s Community Fund and BE.

The court now boasts a new playing surface, which has been painted with the colours of the Isle of Wight flag thanks to Soft Surfaces, full-sized backboards and rings and repairs to the fencing, all installed by local contractor Sandrock Services.

Freshwater court was officially revealed to the local community on the 15 October 2023

Growing basketball

Chair of IOW Basketball Tim Brown MBE and club coach Ian Broadsmith saw the refurbishment as part of their strategy to develop the club’s junior basketball programme.

“By doing up the court to publicise basketball, we’ve had loads of people walking onto it wanting to play or asking if their kids can play, and our junior sessions are growing all the time. Next summer, we will be moving our popular 3x3 league from inside, which is really expensive, to the outdoor court. It’s fantastic," said Brown. 

”The court was in a really dilapidated state, so with the help of the community, we Crowdfunded £10,000 and were supported by the parish council and the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation and Tesco.

“One of the contractors, Sandrock, also did some of the work with no labour charge. It was a hugely community-based project."

Brown says because the project has been so successful there has been interest from other towns on the island, who also want a slice of the action.

"In a bid cut vandalism on the island, the club’s coaches are working on a youth project to get more kids into basketball in a town called Sandown and the project is currently liaising with Portsmouth University to assess the feasibility of doing another art court," added Brown. 

BE Basketball Court Activation Officer Toby Wilkinson said:

“The Freshwater Park refurbishment caps off a busy summer for the #ProjectSwish campaign, which has helped six communities realise their dream of having a good-looking, bespoke outdoor court to play basketball on.

“We were delighted to work with Tim, the Isle of Wight Basketball Club, and its funding partners to complete this project. The fact the club has already experienced an increased interest in young people wanting to play basketball because of access to a great basketball facility is exactly why #ProjectSwish is so integral to Basketball England’s mandate of growing the game and the health and well-being of the nation’s young people.”  

#ProjectSwish has helped renovate and renew five other outdoor courts this year too, working with partners and stakeholders to improve England’s stock.

The following courts received the #ProjectSwish treatment:

  • Hulme Park, Manchester
  • Platt Fields Park, Manchester
  • Crowcroft Park, Manchester
  • Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent
  • West Park, Worthing

Check out the launch of Freshwater court via the gallery below.