Town's basketball scene thrives

IPSWICH is using the growing popularity of basketball in the town to aid the government in its bid to get more youngsters joining sports clubs.

Stuart Watson

IPSWICH is using the growing popularity of basketball in the town to aid the government in its bid to get more youngsters joining sports clubs.

At present the government has set itself a goal of providing children with access to a minimum of five hours of sport and physical activity a week.

In order to reach that target a national programme, known as Sport Unlimited, has been set up to provide a series of ten-week taster sessions across the country in a variety of less mainstream sports.

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The hope is that up to 900,000 so-called 'semi-sporty' children will not only give the sessions a try but that many will join a club once the programme comes to an end.

Over 200 activities, including the likes of archery, fencing and golf, have been accepted for the programme, however, in Ipswich it was decided that basketball should kick-start the scheme due to its growing popularity.

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Launched at Holywells High School, 16 children aged between nine and 12 attended the first session which was led by Ipswich Basketball Club coach Nick Drane.

The majority of the children had taken part in Ipswich Borough Council's free 'Game On' basketball sessions over the summer and it is hoped that, following another ten weeks of introductory coaching, many will join the club.

Once the ten-week Sports Unlimited programme comes to an end Ipswich Basketball Club plans to continue the sessions as club nights in order to encourage the youngsters to continue permanently with the sport.

Kathryn James, Suffolk's Basketball Development Officer and Ipswich Basketball Club coach, said: “There has been a strong link between Ipswich Basketball Club and the community over the past few years thanks to the community coach role of Nick Drane and the Borough Council's commitment to providing basketball camps.

“The Sports Unlimited scheme has made that all the more exciting this year though as we knew there would be an exit route for players from the community camps and the Game On initiative.”

The Sports Unlimited programme will be delivered out of two venues over the coming weeks. One will be delivered out of Ipswich Basketball Club's traditional home venue of Westbourne High School from 5.30-7pm, while the second session is being delivered in Holywells High School's dome facility on Sundays between 10-11.30am.

Both sessions are open to both boys and girls aged between eight to 14 years-old and there are still a number of places available on both sessions.

Those that are interested in joining are encouraged to contact Kathryn James at the earliest opportunity on: 07748 320802.

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