Basketball England shares with the Government the power of basketball and what it can do for communities in the future

Basketball England is calling on the Government to do more to help it fulfil the potential of basketball to transform communities.  

BE CEO Stewart Kellett spoke with the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP, at 10 Downing Street today (10 May) at an event hosted the Prime Minister’s Wife, Akshata Murty, where BE athletes Orlan Jackman and Shanice Beckford-Norton shared how their lives have been shaped by basketball.  

His message: that Basketball England is proud of what it’s achieving with its current Sport England investment but imagine what it could do with even more to tackle inequalities. 

Orlan Jackman (left) and Shanice Beckford-Norton (right) with Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport the Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP (second from left), Mrs Murty (centre) and BE CEO Stewart Kellett (second from right). Image - Simon Walker/No 10 Downing Street

Stewart Kellett said:  

“We are calling on the Government to recognise that basketball is uniquely placed to make good on its mandate through Sport England to tackle this nation’s inequalities when it comes to sport and physical activity.  

“Basketball delivers for this Government and for this nation on strategy, on connecting communities, on inclusivity, on medals, on making people happier and healthier.” 

The invitation was part of Mrs Murty’s ‘Lessons at 10’ initiative, which brings children from across the UK to Downing Street, with the aim of giving them an inspirational educational experience through workshops and activities, and to encourage them to love learning by hearing from people in different industries.   

Twenty Year 9 children from Westminster City School in London and Bemrose School in Derby stepped inside the world-renowned address and listened to talks by Jackman and Beckford-Norton, who answered questions from Mrs Murty and the children on their journeys and successes in the game, and further inspired them and the Secretary of State by hosting a 3x3 basketball coaching clinic outside Number 10, with skills, drills and mini games. 

Mrs Murty plays basketball with the schoolchildren. Image - Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

Basketball uniquely placed to tackle inequalities 

Basketball England wants to do more to service and support clubs and participants, especially in underserved communities, remove barriers to access, develop facilities and train best-in-class officials and coaches, working with partners, stakeholders, advocates and activists to grow the game.  

Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy has a vision to create more equal, inclusive, and connected communities through sport and physical activity, and thus create a nation of happier, healthier and more fulfilled people.  

The four priority groups of this work, where there are deep-rooted inequalities to activity, are disability and/or people with a long-term health condition, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, women and girls and people from minority ethnic backgrounds.  

Basketball is Britain’s second most popular team sport amongst young people – after football.  

According to Sport England’s Active Live Survey, over 344,000 adults (16+) play basketball twice a month, and nearly 1.2 million children and young people (U16) play it every week. Additionally, there are there are millions of basketball fans in the UK.  

The sport is incredibly diverse and accessible, with both genders and people from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds playing the game. 

Kellett added: 

“Ultimately, grassroots basketball is where the love of the game, and physical activity, is sown. It’s also the first stage to creating and moulding champions. 

“What young people need to fall in love with basketball at an early age is a fantastic introduction to basketball through the likes of our introductory basketball programme Slam Jam, delivered in primary schools and by our clubs, and that love being cemented by moving onto our Jr. NBA programme – run in conjunction with the NBA and being the largest in the world outside the US – and subsequently off to join our vibrant network of hundreds of clubs that create great playing environments and produce first-rate coaches and officials.  

“A well-funded and serviced grassroots system means that clubs get the support that they need to grow and hone their participation offer and there are employment opportunities to earn a living in the sport in basketball, thus creating longevity and sustainability at the base of our pyramid. 

“A safe and exciting club network at community level, alongside college and university basketball opportunities, and a talent system ready to enhance the skills of our most talented junior and senior athletes, all build into a collective momentum that moves the sport forward and further success on the international stage – as well as creating role models and the prospect for a life in basketball in this country for future generations.” 

Check out the gallery from Lessons at 10 below. 

All images - Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street