If you have an innovative idea to remove barriers to participation in sport, the Be Active Wales Fund could support you. Just ask Aberystwyth Basketball who launched glow in the dark sessions to encourage more women into the sport.
Their ‘UV Me’ project was granted £3,825 in National Lottery funding to buy bibs, balls, coaching courses and venue hire in the aim to introduce more women to basketball through this initiative.
We spoke to coach Lee Coulson BEM at Aberystwyth Basketball and some of the participants of the glow in the dark sessions to find out a bit more about their project and the support from Sport Wales.
Firstly, what is glow in the dark basketball?
Lee Coulson (Coach): "Glow in the dark basketball is basically basketball in the dark with UV lights on. Everyone wears neon bibs while the ball and hoop are taped with illuminous strips."
And where did the idea for glow in the dark basketball come from?
Lee: "It started when British Wheelchair Basketball asked us to do some taster sessions two or three years ago. "
What does glow in the dark basketball aim to do?
Lee: "Here at the club, one of the things we really focus on is inclusion and we wanted to do was break down the barriers that girls don’t like being watched or being seen when they take part in activities."
Carys (Player and Coach): A lot of women, especially older women who want to get into sport, they’re worried about “Am I good enough?” “Will I look silly in front of people?” “I haven’t done this before.”
"Glow in the dark takes that aspect of worry away because although you can see people, you can’t see as well, so you’re not on show as much as you would be if the lights were on. I think that has a huge benefit for people who want to get back into sport but find some of those barriers getting in the way."
What do the participants think about glow in the dark basketball?
Danny (Parent and Safeguarding Officer): "My 12 year old daughter, like many teenage girls is worried about her image and how she looks. But what she really enjoys about this session is the fact that it’s in the dark, you can forget all about that and put all that self image stuff behind you. You just play for the love of the game."
Sue (Player): "These sessions are a bit of a release from work and the daily stresses of life. You don’t know who the people are. Once you’ve got a bib on, you’re just a bib on a team. There’s no worries about work or general life. You’re here to play basketball. The same as everyone else really."
Carys: "The concept sounds a little bit weird but it’s actually really good fun. The glow in the dark brings this completely new aspect to it. It’s good fun, it’s exercise, it gets you fit and it gets you meeting new people."
What has the response been to the project?
Lee: "During the pilot programme, we ‘ve had 15-20 women attend and it averages 12 a week. It varies in ages – we have 13, 14-year-olds up to 30 or 40 year olds. The feedback has been brilliant."
How did the Be Active Wales Fund support the project?
Lee: "The Be Active Wales Fund helped us support the UV Me project for ladies’ basketball. It helped provide equipment and facility hire. Funding these allowed us to remove the biggest barrier of all - cost – and put on free sessions on for people to come along."
What would you say to other clubs thinking about applying for National Lottery funding through Sport Wales?
Lee: "Aberystwyth Basketball is really grateful for the support from the Be Active Wales Fund. I urge all other clubs out there to get in touch with Sport Wales. The grant process is really simple. Apply for those grants and let’s get more of these activities in the community."
Do you have any top tips for other sports clubs?
Lee: "My advice to other clubs in all other sports is to “Think outside the box.” Get out in the community and ask them what they want and see what they come back with.
I think it’s important we get people out there to share their ideas. The name UV me came up from one of our members. So, see what the community wants, use the Be Active Wales Fund and provide that activity that the community needs."
If your club has an innovative way of encouraging more people to be active through sport, then the National Lottery could support your club, just like they did with Aberystwyth Basketball Club. Check out our Be Active Wales Fund, bring your idea to life and get more people into sport.