Established in 2012, the London Basketball Association strives to benefit young people through their ethos of engagement and prevention and addressing specific issues young people face that can result in compounded difficulties in their adult lives if not addressed.
The London Basketball Association helps young people mainly from the areas of Lambeth, Brent and Westminster but also cover the whole of London. A lot of the participants are from the BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) and young NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training).
Projects like this are so important as research conducted by the London Basketball Association found that 78% of the young people that they support are on the margins of crime and gangs, at risk of engaging in crime and anti-social behaviour. The project provides an outlet that helps occupy young people instead of them bowing to the peer pressure to join gangs and gain the so-called respect from what is perceived to come from it.
Through Little Lives UK’s donation, the LBA is successfully running a twelve-month long project called BOOST (Basketball for Outstanding Opportunities, Skills and Training). This project has a multi-dimensional approach which concentrates on mentoring, development and a training programme which incorporates Basketball into improving mental wellbeing, engaging with peers and staying active.
Each year, approximately 5000 young people across LBA’s area of operation are supported through basketball. The young people who attend the sessions say they feel pressure to join gangs to achieve ‘respect’, material possessions and ‘success’ they believe comes with joining a gang. Diversionary activities provided help the young participants achieve their potential and stay on a route to achievement through worthwhile means.
52% of the participants have metal health difficulties such as anxiety and depression which they say is due to fear of the future, poor family relationships, isolation and future career prospects.
70% of those who attend are not engaging with education, 58% have low education attainment due to behavioural difficulties or disabilities such as dyslexia, autism and ADHD, expressing a view of that they have been written off or given up on by the system. And, 95% of the young people who go to LBA are from BAME communities, particularly from migrant or refugee communities who have not integrated effectively and feel socially excluded and isolated because of language, cultural differences and the lack of knowledge or awareness of local services. With help from the LBA, participants and their families can again feel part of a cause and are able to participate in their community.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but not as much as young people from BAME or low-income groups. The pandemic has only intensified the inequalities faced, with many becoming victims of the educational attainment gap and the lack of access to extracurricular activities due to the social and economic disadvantages they face.
Projects and organisations like this are vital for those in the immediate community and in turn for the wider community. The use of diversionary techniques, or other ways to occupy young people’s time and mind, are an effective way to help keep young people from joining gangs, participating in anti-social behaviour or becoming forgotten by the system.
To be in with a chance of receiving a donation from Little Lives UK, please apply through our ‘Children’s Community Support Programme’ on our website.