Members of the Cheshire Phoenix British basketball team delivered motivational talks to 120 children from St Mary of the Angels
CHESHIRE, UK: Last week, members of the Cheshire Phoenix British basketball team, including Jamell Anderson hosted a community day at St Mary of the Angels, Ellesmere as part of the British Basketball League’s Ambassadors programme.
Launched last summer, the Ambassador programme is part of the BBL’s ‘Inspires’ initiative, where key members of each of the league’s 10 clubs will visit schools in their local community to tell their stories about their pathway to becoming professional athletes. The campaign targets 1,000 schools and inspires 150,000 young people across the UK to get involved with sports in their local communities.
The day began with a school assembly in which Cheshire Phoenix star forward, Jamell Anderson spoke about his basketball journey from starting out as a youngster, to winning a commonwealth gold medal. This was followed by thought-provoking talks from Will Neighbour, Larry Austin Jr and Maceo Jack about their backgrounds. The children then heard from Tumusiime Douglas, who at the time was visiting the UK representing Uganda Ibanda Phoenix Academy, where he coaches basketball in deprived areas and primary schools in partnership with Cheshire Phoenix.
At the end of the assembly, the players invited the children to attend a match day clinic at Cheshire Phoenix’s training ground, whereupon they have the opportunity to take part in basketball skills activities and get to know the players, before watching the pro game in the evening.
Later that day, the team delivered in-classroom healthy-eating workshops as part of the league’s Hoops 4 Health initiative, a healthy living programme which sees professional players use basketball as an activity to convey a range of positive health messages to primary school children.
Speaking about the day, St Mary of the Angels Headteacher, Helen Thorpe said: “We were delighted to welcome the team from Cheshire Phoenix. We’ve developed a really strong relationship with the team over the years through their Hoops 4 Health workshops and match day clinics. The children benefit hugely from these days, it immerses them into these diverse learning experiences, and it really enriches their development, and it feeds their aspirations for their own futures.”
Commenting on the community activities, Cheshire Phoenix General Manager James Brice said: “British Basketball has the power to inspire the next generation and the league is very fortunate to have so many role models that young people look up to and aspire to be. At Cheshire Phoenix, we know just how beneficial these sessions are for youngsters within our community which is why we host up to seven weekly community sessions, outreaching to 6,000 children each year.”
To keep up to date with the Cheshire Phoenix’s community sessions, visit www.cheshirephoenix.com.