For the past two years, the club has been part of the BasketJoy Erasmus+ programme, cofounded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, to promote diversity and inclusive practices through basketball.
We would like to thank our partners and friends from Lucentum Alicante, Wetterbygden Basketball & Special Olympics Bulgaria for their hospitality and friendship throughout the course of the project.
As part of the programme, a cohort of Rockets players and coaches have enjoyed trips to Spain, Sweden and Bulgaria – providing enriching life experiences to our young people and providing valuable insight to many of our coaches across the club.
Rockets Coach Peter Mintoft led the programme on behalf of the club and is delighted with the impact the project has had across the organisation.
He said, “A major reason for the City of Birmingham Rockets Basketball Club joining in this inspired programme of activity was to help it become more inclusive and this has certainly proved to be the case.
“Our coaching staff and players are now far more aware of the range of disabilities there are and have been able to adjust their approaches to accommodating a wider range of people in order to use basketball as a vehicle for inclusion.
“By hosting the visits of the partner organisations and the reciprocating excursions to Spain, Sweden and Bulgaria we now have a cohort of staff who are now able to work and develop interest in genuine inclusion.”
The project has seen the club become able to expand its offering to accommodate participants with different requirements and needs, with our coaches also better placed to understand and adapt to the needs of individuals as a result of the experiences garnered throughout the programme.
Peter continued, “A good example of our Club growing in capability and experience emanated from Ben O’Brien who plays Special Olympics basketball and joined the BasketJoy project before enjoying the camp held in Spain.
“To follow-up on that step forward, the Rockets hosted a match between Ben’s Worcestershire group and the partner Bulgarian Special Olympics during their visit to Birmingham.
“This relationship continues to grow with Ben joining the Rocket’s Adult Recreation group and resultantly his basketball and social skills have continued to grow.
“The next planned step is for several Rocket coaches to visit the Worcestershire Special Olympics group in their practice facility, which will ensure that the progress of both players and coaches continues. There is also the prospect of the Worcestershire Special Olympics group developing their acquaintance with their opposite numbers in Bulgaria.”
The project has benefitted inclusion basketball in the area significantly, the club have now developed a positive partnership with the Special Olympics and other clubs in the region that will see improved opportunities for inclusion basketball in the near future.
We are looking forward to implementing the inclusive practices developed as part of this programme as we look to continue to evolve our offering to those with both physical and mental disabilities.
The project funding has enabled us to ensure our players and coaches are in a position to understand the specialist needs and requirements of individuals coming into our club and has enabled us to improve our offering to those participants as a direct result of our participation in this project.