Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson hosted a masterclass from Team GB basketball and wheelchair basketball stars on Wednesday 16th September during the return of the ‘Shoot Some Hoops’ event in Parliament to help promote the sport.
Sharon presenting the winner of the shoot off - Adam Afriyie, Member of Parliament for Windsor - with a signed basketball from Team GB after the "Shoot Some Hoops" event in parliament.
The ‘Shoot Some Hoops’ event returned after the success of last year’s event where MPs were given the chance to test their ball skills whilst also hearing about the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Basketball’s inquiry report into the positive social impact of basketball within inner cities and deprived communities.
The return of the ‘Shoot Some Hoops’ event gave MPs the chance to prove their skills with Clare Griffiths, Helen Freeman & Mark Fosbrook from Great Britain’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, Tayo Ogedengbe and Will Neighbor from Surrey Scorchers, Barry Lamble and Erin McGarrachan from Leicester Riders and Stef Collins from Team GB and Cardiff Met Archers.
The event this year coincided with the Sport Minister, Tracey Crouch’s sports strategy consultation which will run until Friday 2nd October 2015 after an overall decline in weekly sport participation was seen in the Active People Survey, despite the positive news that basketball was the fastest-growing sport in the period reported.
Great Britain legend Stef Collins, who has won an incredible 125 caps for her country and also represents Cardiff Met Archers in the WBBL (Women’s British Basketball League), underlined the importance of the event.
She said, “To inspire the next generation of players and to ensure the future of basketball is strong requires a collective effort. Basketball is one of the most widely-played sports in our country and so many young people out there have huge potential which we don’t want to see go to waste."
“I hope that decision makers will recognise that they need to be given an opportunity to shine – not least the thousands of people who play in our inner-cities and urban areas. That is why I am stepping out with the politicians from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Basketball. Their backing for the sport is vital and appreciated by us all."
“Myself and the players try to do the best we can on the basketball court, but as athletes and also for those players who want to follow in our footsteps, support is needed off the court too.”
Speaking after the event, Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Basketball, said: “It was great to host the second 'Shoot Some Hoops' showcase in Parliament after the success of last year and to see so many MPs come out to show their support for basketball."
“It is important that politicians hear about the important work basketball clubs are doing right across the country to inspire young people to become more active and lead better lives and what they, as policy-makers, can do to help overlooked sports such as basketball."
“That is why I hope the current new sport’s strategy consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will give the likes of basketball the opportunity to show how they are able to tap into the potential of young people to help them succeed in life."
The APPG Basketball is a cross-party group of MPs which aims to promote the development of the sport of basketball at all levels in the UK. The APPG is chaired by Labour MP, Sharon Hodgson, and the Vice-Chairs are Lord Wasserman (Conservative), Chi Onwurah MP (Labour) and Oliver Colvile MP (Conservative). The APPG’s website can be found here: http://www.appgbasketball.org.uk
The APPG Basketball’s inquiry into ‘the ability of Basketball to make a difference to the social challenges affecting young people, particularly in the UK’s inner cities’ was published in July 2014 and has recommendations for Government, Sport England, UK Sport and the sport itself to improve the position of basketball in the UK. The report can be read here: http://www.appgbasketball.org.uk/resources/APPGInquiryFinalReport.pdf%20
The Government’s new sport’s strategy consultation will run until Friday 2nd October 2015 and can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-new-strategy-for-sport-consultation
Pictured below: Sharon and Adam Afriyie MP with members of Team GB in parliament - even rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm.