YOUNGSTERS from across Hartlepool are realising their hoop dreams thanks to a fantastic funding project.
Basketball clubs Hartlepool Huskies and Hartlepool Heat have been working in partnership with Hartlepool Sport CIC and the PFC Trust to help the sport go from strength to strength in the town.
Both Heat and Huskies are looking to build a lasting legacy, and share their love of basketball with people who otherwise might not get a chance to experience the sport.
And thanks to the work they have done with Hartlepool Sport they are ‘slam-dunking’ their aims to bring basketball to the masses.
Calvin George, club director and coach at Huskies, and former Newcastle Eagles Academy coach, said: “It has been brilliant to work with the PFC Trust and Hartlepool Sport.
“They really got what we were looking to do and really bought into it. It was not just about the money. They have worked with us to provide an education for our coaches to become qualified to Level 2 which allows them to coach independently.
“This gives us a level of coaching that allows us to continue to grow and flourish.
“We now have more than 200 kids across all areas who we are coaching, and that doesn’t include the kids we visit and work with at local schools.
“Dare I say it, I don’t think there has been a time when basketball was so strong in the town and thanks to this funding and support from the PFC it can only get stronger. I don’t think thank you is a strong enough word for what they have done for us.”
Calvin’s sentiments were echoed by Joe Davison, coach and treasurer at Hartlepool Heat.
Joe has been with the Heat since his playing days as a teenager and believes the future is bright for the sport in the town.
“I can’t stress enough how easy it has been to work with the PFC Trust, they have been fantastic," he said.
“I’d also like to say a big thank you to Adam Brooks, from Hartlepool Sport, who we have worked with very closely. He has been a brilliant support and we look forward to building on our relationship with him in the future.
“We are looking to build a legacy here at Heat, to create a family and to help kids, who might not have otherwise had access, to enjoy this wonderful sport.
“We are growing as a club all the time and thanks to the work we have done with the Trust we can offer more kids a pathway into basketball.
“To see the kids growing in confidence, not just on the court but also off it, is what it is all about.
“The work with Hartlepool Sport means we get to share our love of basketball with more and more kids, and that is what we need to continue to grow the sport as a whole, and as a club.”
Thanks to help from the PFC Trust there are now hundreds of kids involved in the sport across both clubs.
Funding has help with venue hire and equipment costs, but also helped a number of coaches take part in a Level 2 coaching course. Heat had three coaches and the Huskies had seven coaches along with two casual coaches from Hartlepool Borough Council.
The PFC Trust, whose sport arm is Hartlepool Sport CIC, aims to improve the lives and life chances of the people of Hartlepool by celebrating all of the good in the town and helping those who need it.
For the Trust everyone who they work with are seen as partners. It believes supporting worthy causes is not just a case of providing money and then walking away, but to also give guidance and to connect people where possible.