20 Jan 2009

Grassroots basketball is bouncing back in Flintshire, after several initiatives slam-dunked nearly £2,000 of National Lottery funding from the Sports Council for Wales.

The North Wales Basketball Association has netted £990 of Community Chest funding to provide a central venue for weekly Under-14 league games. The funding will go towards court hire at Flint High School, refereeing courses, and match balls. The Under-14 league was formed to help juniors step up to a more competitive stage between Under-12 level and Under-16. Juniors from this age group are also being mentored to become young officials to continue their progression in the sport and to increase the sustainability of the league.

Mold Basketball Club has also received £1,000 of Community Chest funding to develop a section for disabled juniors aged 11-16 years with learning and physical disabilities. The club identified a gap in local provision and hope to link with the Federation of Disability Sport Wales to provide competition opportunities for local youngsters. The funding will go towards court hire at Mold Sports Centre, coach education, and equipment such as bibs and balls.

The Community Chest funding complements a £20,000 Sportsmatch Cymru* grant awarded to the BiG Storage Cheshire Jets’ recently to deliver their ‘Hoops for Health’ programme, currently being rolled out in primary schools across Flintshire and North Wales.** The major aim of the scheme is to deliver a healthy living programme through professional sporting role models, utilising basketball as an activity to communicate a range of positive health messages to young people in primary schools.

Chair of the Sports Council for Wales, Philip Carling, said:

"Community Chest has been and continues to be a huge success and is very popular throughout Flintshire. The increase in funding and the greater scope of the scheme will increase its effectiveness.

"Panels based in each of the 22 local authorities in Wales hold the purse strings and have delegated authority to award grants to worthwhile projects. We want to hear of bright ideas and projects that will get more people in Flintshire more active, more often."

Since the inception of the Sports Council for Wales’ Community Chest scheme in 1999, communities across the length and breadth of Wales have been investing heavily in sports and physical activity projects.

As a result of the popularity and undoubted success of the scheme, the Sports Council for Wales is raising the level of grant. Organisations keen to develop sport & physical activity in Wales can now receive up to £1000 for a qualifying project over a 12 month period.

The scope of the scheme has also been widened. Grants have traditionally been awarded to sports clubs and sporting bodies. Now most organisations seeking to develop physical activity and sporting projects will be eligible for an award.

The Community Chest has recently been infiltrating additional areas of work such as the voluntary sector (e.g. Voluntary Youth Clubs, Women’s Institute) and the workplace, as well as continuing to support projects in the health and education arenas. So while funding the local football club might get the younger members of the community moving, backing a walking group will encourage more adults to get active.