ABERYSTWYTH BASKETBALL CLUB have become the first Gold Insport club in Ceredigion as it continues to grow in popularity.
The club was formed in 1992 by Lee Coulson and Alex Manlucato and began as a group of young people who would meet regularly to enjoy the game of Basketball.
25 years on, Aberystwyth Basketball has 4 sections – Aberystwyth Basketball Club, Aberystwyth Angels Ladies Basketball Club, Westcoast Warriors Wheelchair Basketball Club and Walking Basketball Aberystwyth.
This year the club celebrates its 25th birthday with a membership of around 150 participants ranging from under 5s to over 50s and for all abilities. The club’s slogan is BALL 4 ALL and has an ‘open door’ policy with an ethos of ‘anyone can play’.
Helen Pearce Secretary for Aberystwyth Basketball Club said: “Achieving Gold insport is not only a number of ‘firsts’ – first Gold insport Club in Ceredigion, first Gold insport Club in Basketball Wales, it is also recognition that our club joins the other Gold insport Clubs in leading the way to inclusivity in sport in Wales.
“Being part of Aberystwyth Basketball means everything to me. On a personal level I am enjoying playing the latest form of the game – walking basketball, never in a million years did I ever think at the age of 51 I would be playing a competitive team sport! In my club role as Welfare Officer I am immensely proud to be able to say that whatever your age, race, gender or ability our club has a session that you can take part in.”
As well as having over 11 weekly sessions the club also have a volunteering programme, a coach mentoring programme and an ambassador programme that offer young people opportunities to contribute to the club through coaching and social media. This gives them a level of responsibility, raises their profile within the club and allows them access to training and a mentorship programme.
Disability Sport Wales Development Officer for Ceredigion, Gemma Cutter, has been working closely with the club for a number of years and said: “I am extremely proud of Aberystwyth Basketball Club. They are the first club in Ceredigion and in the west region to achieve insport Gold standard and are also leading the way with inclusivity on a national level. They deserve every recognition for the hard work that they do.”
Founding member Lee Coulson said: “Receiving insport Gold is a fantastic achievement for the club and its members. It has been an opportunity to show that Aberystwyth Basketball truly is an inclusive Club.
“Having founded the club and celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Aberystwyth Basketball Club has come so far and continues to grow and attract new players of all ages and abilities. Our open-door policy has proved that with an open mind and determination any sport can be adapted for everyone to play.”
Carwyn Young, Sport Wales Senior Officer, said “it was fantastic to listen to Lee and Helen share the journey that Aberystwyth Basketball have been on since they were established. The range of basketball activities they provide means they truly cater for everyone and shows what is possible if a club has the drive and desire to be inclusive. The Gold insport accreditation is richly deserved and all the players and volunteers should be proud of what they’ve achieved”
DSW Partnership Manager, Michelle Daltry, said: “Congratulations to Aberystwyth Basketball Club on achieving the insport Club Gold standard, this award recognises the tremendous ethic that the club displays to ensure that everyone can take part in the sport.
“The club should be particularly commended for the fantastic work that is being done to support disabled young people to become coaches and volunteers. Congratulations and a huge thanks to all involved.”
If you would like to get involved with Aberystwyth Basketball Club please visit www.aberbasketball. co.uk