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Slam dunk for young people at Shell Twilight Basketball National Tournament

1st December 2017

170 young people from 20 basketball teams from Fife, Stirling and Glasgow took part in a thrilling day of competition and fun on and off the basketball court at the National Tournament 2017 in Stirling at the the start of November.

All the young  people were part of Scottish Sports Futures’ CashBack for Communities-funded Shell Twilight Basketball programme.

For the second year, a girl’s category was added to the annual tournament alongside existing under 14, under 18 and under 21 categories. The aim of this was to promote female participation in sport and physical activity. The category was made a spectacle of during the day and was hugely appreciated by everyone in attendance. Four teams were entered and each game was incredible to watch.

This is the seventh time the tournament has run as additional activity to the normal evening diversionary sessions and the second time the event has been hosted in Stirling. It is also the first event to run as part of our new tournament strategy which encompasses all of our Shell Twilight Basketball programmes across Scotland. A lot of work has gone into creating a long lasting impact by embedding our sessions into the communities we engage with. Tournaments are a huge part of the programme and will still be offered to sessions who have gone through the process of becoming community led sessions.

The free programme is supported by Title Sponsors, Shell, the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities and North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drugs Partnership. It runs on Friday nights and aims to keep young people off the streets, get them active and through the unique educational time out system, help them make positive lifestyle decisions away from drugs, alcohol and smoking. Shell Twilight Basketball is delivered by qualified coaches and youth workers who provide a variety of content suitable to the participants.

Shell Communications & Social Performance Advisor, John Raine commented on the initiative “Shell Twilight Basketball is an exciting initiative that is making a real contribution to social inclusion by giving young people the opportunity to make a number of positive choices for their futures while having fun and learning vital skills. We are delighted to be able to continue to work with Scottish Sports Futures, the Scottish Government and The Glasgow Rocks in delivering this programme”.

The young people are at the very heart of all SSF programmes and were crucial to the success of this year’s tournament. The Shell Twilight Basketball Ambassador programme, funded by BBC Children in Need, offers young people motivation and support to take on leadership roles, become positive role models to their peers, and volunteer in their local communities. A variety of roles including coaches, referees and table officials were taken on by ambassadors throughout the tournament. The girls’ category was also planned and implemented by a team of passionate and dedicated volunteers. Due to the opportunities and training the programme provides, young people are now taking leadership roles at their sessions to further support the transition to fully sustainable activity.

A young person who attended the tournament commented, “The tournament is a great chance to play with a variety of people. It’s a friendly atmosphere and everyone supports each other, it’s good to see the girls only section and the staff at Twilight sessions are what make them so great!”

Educational workshops were scheduled into the event to provide the young people with important information on topics including; healthy relationships, cybercrime, organised crime, resilience and being a good team player. The workshops provided a great opportunity for young people to learn and integrate with others with similar interests from different areas in Scotland. The delivery staff were amazing and engaged their audience throughout the day. Police Scotland and Sexpression came in specially to offer professional advice on organised crime and healthy relationships.

Scottish Sports Futures programmes Education through Cashback, Jump2It and Active East also had a large role in delivering workshops including a very popular Active East activity zone. This was delivered by young volunteers from the east end of Glasgow to provide fun activities during breaks in the schedule. The Jump2It – Education and Development Coordinator, Alan Hendry commented, “It was such a fantastic day to see young people competing in the national tournament displaying the true spirit of sport.  It worked on all levels with their eagerness and appetite to also engage and learn through the educational work-shops.  Without doubt, it was a pleasure to see young players fully embracing the importance of the educational inputs and leading healthy lives.”

Shell Twilight Basketball runs mainly on Friday nights across Scotland. It is FREE to attend and open to all young people aged 11-21 years old. Please see www.ssf.org.uk for more information or contact martyn@ssf.org.uk.

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