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Community News

Disadvantage dunked at London Youth Games, by Greenhouse Charity U16 Girl’s Basketball team

Platanos U16 girl’s School Basketball team have been inspired to claim bronze with a 30 point win in this years London Youth Games, held on the 24th March 2014.

‘The London Youth Games run alongside the National Schools Competition and determines who’s the best in London. They certainly worked hard, playing some of the best basketball I’ve seen all season! They played aggressively, attacked the basket strongly and most importantly worked together as a team’, said a delighted Greenhouse Head Coach, Jenny Ridgway

Platanos U16 girl’s School Basketball team is made up of students from ‘London’s most disadvantaged communities’ and highlights the success that Greenhouse charity have with their sport empowering project. Platanos won against Battersea Park after reaching the Finals by winning the borough competition, representing Greenhouse, their school and also Lambeth. Jenny Ridgway said, “before the game I said to the girls that the team that works the hardest will win. It was a great display and paves the way for a bright future for the team in next year’s competition’.

Greenhouse currently runs 42 programmes across London, working with around 7,000 young people. They aim to empower young people in London’s most disadvantaged communities to realise their potential through high quality, intensive sports programmes delivered by inspirational coaches. They also work in partnership with other clubs and schools to provide exit routes for our players into community clubs in volleyball, basketball, judo and table tennis.

‘By working full time in schools and in the community, Greenhouse coaches develop strong relationships with our young people. These coaches help them to improve their health and fitness whilst mentoring them to improve their engagement with their education and community’, said a Greenhouse report. In fact, on average ‘Greenhouse participants are now spending an extra 2.24 days in school per year’, highlighted their 2012 report. 'Greenhouse has been a central part of our drive to increase our overall attendance. Kids now want to come here because of people like Greenhouse coach Preddie, who makes them feel welcome, listens to them and gives them good advice,’ conferred Steve Childs, Head Teacher of Melrose School.

Greenhouse was founded in 2002 by Chief Executive, Michael de Giorgio, who set up a multisports pilot to give greenhouseyoung people on a local housing estate something positive to do in the school holidays. ‘Using the sports facilities at St Paul’s School, an independent school in West London, the pilot programme helped troubled teenagers with support from the Metropolitan Police’, highlighted a Greenhouse representative. However, ‘Mike quickly realised that rather than transporting young people from London’s disadvantaged areas to private schools in more affluent areas he needed to bring sport to the young people’, continued Greenhouse. In 2004, Greenhouse moved into schools, launching full time table tennis programmes in disadvantaged London communities before merging with Bethwin Community Football Club in 2005. Since then, Greenhouse has continued to grow, ‘thanks to the generosity of our supporters, with the belief that we need to provide more opportunities and role models to many more young people’, concluded Greenhouse.

'I could have easily got into trouble at school. I saw it happen to my friends – and once you go that way, it can be very hard to get back on track. Volleyball kept me on the right track. I had responsibilities – I had to do the right thing by my team. My coach always said that how you behave off the court, shows on the court - and now that's something I want to pass on,' said Darius, a Greenhouse Coach

That is why the girls basketball success shows the importance of Greenhouse projects. The basketball programmes span across London and offers coaching before, during and after-school and in the community. ‘This means they can intensely engage the young people over long periods of time and for a number of years as they move through the school’, highlighted Greenhouse. They also put inspirational coaches (such as specialists in their fields and include Commonwealth and national champions) into schools and community clubs to work with 8 to 18 year-olds. For basketball, their 12 school programmes have coaches delivering one-to-one and small group sessions to encourage talent. On average, each child receives 4.5 hours of coaching each week for an average of 33 weeks per year. ‘Opportunities available to players also include summer camps in Bosnia and training with former NBA players and the Harlem Globetrotters. Players are also encouraged to join our community club London Greenhouse Pioneers, which is run across 8 locations and has teams in the England Basketball National League’, said a Greenhouse statement.

The Basketball program has been very successful and has also seen other successes such as former Stockwell Park High School/London Greenhouse Pioneers player Jules now playing for Olimpija Ljubjana in Slovenia. In addition to this, a participant named ‘Robbie’ who ‘suffers from a speech impediment, used to have low self esteem and found it really difficult to mix with other pupils. He was afraid to speak in case he struggled, but his basketball coach encouraged him to speak during sessions. Now he’s fitter and feels part of a team. He isn’t afraid to speak and he chats away to his friends and walks around the school with confidence’, highlighted a Greenhouse Representative. 'My behaviour in school was poor before I played sport. I came to basketball knowing that I would be expected to change my attitude and learn how to be disciplined. Now that I'm on a team, school is better because I have something to work for that I care about,' highlighted another basketball participant, Sheldon.

Greenhouse coaches target young people most in need of support, such as those struggling with their education or behaviour and engage them in sport across 10 areas including: football, basketball, table tennis, volleyball, judo, swimming, multisports for young people with special educational needs, tennis and athletics. They set high expectations of self discipline, attitude and time keeping. Through this the coaches try to deliver three major outcomes: improved effort with their education, leading to better educational achievement; improved engagement with their community (avoiding negative influences such as crime, drugs, anti-social behaviour); improved health and wellbeing (a reduction in obesity, better health and happiness). In fact, in their annual report Greenhouse state that’ Greenhouse participants outscore their peers in National Curriculum Points progress in English and Maths’. They also claim that Greenhouse participants are ‘thoughtful, understand the importance of respecting adults and feel part of their community’.

Also, Greenhouse have stated that annual external evaluations show that within a year of being on a programme young people attend more school, behave better and outperform their school peers. ‘They are also happier, more confident, fitter and healthier and have more friends than when they started’, concluded the 2012 Greenhouse report.

The girls U16 Basketball team and the ongoing successes of Greenhouse show that where opportunities exist they will and agreenhouse1re being taken by exceptional students in difficult situations. ‘Greenhouse does amazing work, providing real opportunities, support and guidance that can literally turn around the lives of young people,’ concluded Boris Johnson - Mayor of London.

Last modified onFriday, 15 August 2014 00:07
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