3 Jul 2008

Local basketball under threat?

It seems basketball at Stratford Park maybe threatened - but let me come to that in a moment, first more on basketball locally....

Photo: Simple hoop at Chalford

One of the proposals I have put to the Whiteshill and Ruscombe Parish was to establish a basketball net and consider a pitch or area for practice. However the idea has not been met by overwhelming enthusiasm - yes there are issues of cost and particularly issues of where to site it - but I don't think those are insurmountable. We tried again this year (see blog here) and Ciaran, a Ruscombe lad spoke, with some of the Parish about the hopes to have something locally.

At this point there is still no action. I think the Parish are waiting for some figures before considering further. I will try and raise the issue again this month...here were some of the reasons I gave at the time:

- Children from primary levels up to sixth form and college levels benefit from regular sporting activities to enhance physical, mental and social development.
- Not much for older children in this area and Parish spending tends to focus on younger children or older members of community.

- Basketball promotes co-ordination, control, teamwork and leadership skills as well as good health, and is accessible to all.
- Schools can be good for facilities but they're not available at weekends and they're not always the right focal point.

Stratford Park

At the Scrutiny committee I sit on we have considered Stratford Park (particularly looking at the problems there and how things can be improved) - and I have also attended the consultations on gaining additional funding for the Play area there and across the District (see here). Indeed it is great that the skate park at Stratford Park is being revamped with £56,000 through SDC Capital funding and a further £14,000 through Big Lottery Fund. It is still hoped that the project will be completed by the commencement of the school holidays.

However it was with great concern I heard that in the process of doing up the play area at Stratford Park the basketball facilities could be lost. I wrote and asked if they would be re-installing them and when.

Apparently on completion of the Skateboard project it will be looked to see whether the basketball posts can be reinstated to near their original area. If not, then a number of other options will be considered and the subject will be brought up at next weeks Stratford Park Management Group. I am hoping this means that basketball will be restored - and facilities not downgraded.

I have written again to note my concerns that basketball will not be ready for school holidays and that basketball is already not so well served in this area. I also noted that I had been approached by several children who are keen to see it restored and that the basketball was well used. I have not had a response to my question about whether there is anyway the process can be speeded up to ensure basketball can happen this summer. I'll let this blog know when I hear more...

In the meantime here are comments that were sent to me from local lads and copied to the Council:

If this facility is not reinstated it will mean that I and my friends have nowhere in the Stroud district to meet and socialise and have fun together playing basketball. As you probably know basketball is a very sociable sport and can be enjoyed by players of all abilities and ages and both genders. My friends and I often text each other and arrange to meet up in the Stratford park court for anything from a ‘one-on-one’ to a game with full teams. I can even go to the court on my own and enjoy practicing moves and shooting baskets – on these occasions I have met and made new friends. Without the basketball court this summer we will be a loose end and our parents are worried that we could get into trouble through boredom and become ‘square eyed’ playing on our computers all day long.

See also call for Free Running sessions at Stratford Park here.

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