BE Awards 2023: Anne Pitman and Pauline Prior Community Club of the Year

South East's Richmond Knights are the winners of the 2023 Anne Pitman and Pauline Prior Community Club of the Year award.

A quickly developing club with an ever-growing reputation, Richmond have gone from strength-to-strength in recent years, marrying strong on-court success with a host of excellent community and youth initiatives.

Coaching over 1,000 young players every week across 35 different schools, the Knights have also captured success across multiple junior age groups and competitions.

A real community spirit

Success across multiple competitions can't be overlooked, with the performance element of the club pushing the Knights into the national conversation for a number of seasons now.

Success at U17 Girls in the London Youth Games goes with U14 Girls National titles, plus recent appearances at Jnr. NBL Final Fours at U16 Girls and U16 Boys.

The U16s also claimed the 2023/24 Sure Shot National Cup with a 86-66 victory over Milton Keynes last January.

It is beyond the spotlight of the NBL that the club truly shines though, offering a pathway into basketball for so many young players across London and beyond. In 2023 alone, the club reached in excess of 1,000 children across 35 primary and secondary schools per week, running 11 school tournaments for another 400 players.

Their CVL offering is ever-growing, and their holiday camps provide another route into the sport.

They also helped to develop the next generation of the sport off-court, with 20 young leaders and table officials qualified through their Leadership Academy.

"Knights have been a real community club, engaging and coaching our children to be active athletes and developing essential team planning skills," said Natasha, a parent of a young player at the club.

"They recognise our children and offers them opportunities. The approach Knights take helps our children build good soft skills and become role models themselves back at their schools and other environments."

Another parent, Marta Turner, shared a similar sentiment in her nomination and one that was a common theme amongst those who put Richmond forward.

"This club is transformative in encouraging kids into basketball and sport," she said.

"Starting in the school club just for fun, my daughter’s confidence and passion was ignited. She was invited to try out for the team and now plays for their under 10s.

"Being involved in the club has shown us what a special organisation it is. The founders and coaches are  passionate, inspiring and caring. They go out of their way to create opportunities for the kids, support them and build their team spirit."

Congratulations to all at the club for the award, and the North West's Padgate Basketball Club and the South's Portsmouth Force, who both made the national shortlist.

Richmond's award is the penultimate award of 2023 with just tomorrow's cohort of selections for the prestigious Services to Basketball award left to be announced.

Winners from across BE's ten regions were announced in March, with those recipients then shortlisted to narrow down the field for each national winner.