I backed women's basketball team Sheffield Hatters’ call for more funding for the sport, after Sheffield Hatters warned me that basketball is “reaching a crisis point”.
British Basketball, which runs the GB national teams, say that they will soon run out of money to fund elite basketball, as the organisation no longer receives funding from UK Sport and is about to lose emergency funding from Sport England.
Sheffield Hatters point out that basketball is underfunded overall, despite being the second most popular sport after football for 11 to 15 year olds, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport ‘Taking Part’ survey. They argue it has a “unique case for funding” given its effectiveness in reaching disengaged young people - approximately 17% of Basketball England members live in the most deprived wards, measured by the highest Indices of Multiple Deprivation quintile.
In a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on the future of basketball in the UK, citing points made by members of Sheffield Hatters, I said:
“Basketball is one of the sports most effective at reaching out to deprived communities and isn’t that a particularly important reason why it needs to continue to be supported.”
We’ve got two brilliant basketball clubs in the city, the Sheffield Hatters and the Sheffield Sharks. They’re engaging lots of people in the sport from across our communities. It’s time that basketball gets the funding it deserves.