Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


The Scorchers Basketball Foundation is the charity arm of the Surrey Scorchers professional British Basketball League team with the main aim of growing inclusive basketball participation across the South East. The Foundation runs projects for disadvantaged groups in Surrey, North East Hampshire and West Berkshire, bringing people together and improving lives through basketball.

One of our projects provides regular basketball sessions for young people with Learning Disabilities aged 12+ (with no upper age limit). We were awarded funding by Basketball England with support from Jon Stonebridge (their Disability Officer) to establish this group. As you will see from the video footage, the young people engaged in our sessions really enjoy themselves, everyone having the opportunity to take part, whatever their disability. The sessions allow players to experience the camaraderie of being part of a team sport, mix socially with their peers and improve their mental and physical wellbeing through basketball.

With your support we would embrace the opportunity to encourage our players to take part in both local and regional competition. This would help them develop their skills and provide a pathway through to being a part of The Special Olympics Great Britain organisation. “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” A truly moving and inspirational motto used by the Special Olympics to ensure that above all else, above all competition and worries, it is important that the Special Olympic athletes remember to have fun. This ethos is key to the Foundation too.

Special Olympics offers a lifetime of learning through sport and benefits individuals of all ages and ability levels – from those with low motor abilities to highly skilled athletes.

Special Olympics provides a unique competition pathway that enables athletes to progress from local to international level.

Special Olympics competition is “banded” which allows all athletes the opportunity for achievement based on their own level of ability and also ensures that only athletes of similar ability compete against each other.

Currently, the Foundation runs a single Learning Disability group in Guildford, West Surrey and would look to establish a second in the Redhill area of East Surrey, reaching more young people with learning disabilities. This would allow us to run regular local competition between the two groups, taking it in turns to participate home and away. All the young people would become affiliated to the Special Olympics organisation as will the coaches and volunteers. Once the groups are affiliated we would be allowed to run local competitions and approach other clubs in our region to play mini tournaments.

The phases of the project would be:

1) Establish a learning disability group in East Surrey
2) Become accredited with Special Olympics
3) Arrange membership of Special Olympics for all players, coaches and volunteers
4) Hold local competitions between the two groups, 4 in the first year
5) Become registered with Special Olympics to run competitions in the region to give our young people wider experience.
6) Within the region, players may be chosen to go forward to Special Olympics National Competitions.

This programme would lay the basis for our players to have the opportunity to play in the Great Britain Biennial Basketball Competition, the next being in Autumn 2018, and the 4 yearly multisport National Competition in 2021 (venue TBA). The next Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in March 2019.

Project Video

Scorchers Basketball Foundation

Moment of Pride

The Learning Disability young people take part in our basketball sessions in a respectful, friendly manner and have fun. All the coaches enjoy working with them because of this. We are about to receive the Mayor’s Award for Access – Access through Sports, having been nominated by Active Surrey.

Location: Surrey Sports Park (Stop S1), Guildford, United Kingdom