Basingstoke Wolverines Allstar Cheer Squad provides affordable fitness and well-being opportunities for the local community aged from five to adult. We use competitive cheerleading to engage the local youth and provide financial assistance to those that show the ability and dedication to succeed in this growing and, often misunderstood, future Olympic sport.
Wolverines were set up as a charity in January 2017. This followed mixed success outside of the charity remit and after careful consideration the charity route was chosen. Primary reasons were to meet our community and affordability aims by having access to grants and tax breaks. With the exception of our head coach and her two adult assistant coaches, the club is run on a voluntary basis.
Our wonderful "Storm" girls had a fantastic time fundraising at Kempshott school fete today. A big big thank you to all…
Nationally, cheerleading in the main is run as a commercial sport. Most clubs are run as a business. We wanted to be different and make affordability a key objective as this sport is very popular with young athletes from all backgrounds. We particularly wanted to help those from disadvantaged and low-income families by subsidising their membership. Typically comparable clubs can be twice the monthly subscription of Wolverines. This does not impact on performance, in the 2016/17 season two of our six squads become national champions.
Unfortunately the sport is plagued by a media-fueled negative stereotype that we are trying to breakdown. Our athletes work hard – as hard as gymnasts or dancers. They are focused, bright confident individuals that do not shake Pom Poms. To this end we have established a Project Team consisting of athletes who want to grow their employment skills outside of the sport. The team runs PR, grant applications, marketing and fundraising all of which will make a valid contribution to their future CVs. We do not cheer other sports teams. We compete in a sport that has over 9 million athletes worldwide.
Allstar Cheerleading can be competitive or purely recreational. It is open to all genders, religions and nationalities. Our athletes come from all of the above. The integration into a close knit team that transcends social boundaries is inspiring to witness.
Not all our athletes are angels but I would challenge anyone to pick out those that have been labelled “trouble makers” by other clubs or schools. We always offer a clean start and if those with a past are looking to join, a quick meeting and clear setting out of the club’s rules and expectations has always been respected and successful.
The transformation can be very moving.
Not all our members want to compete. That’s fine, we encourage all to get involved in our fun squads. For those that do get the bug we are keen to provide internal pathways through the competitive levels. This particularly applies for those looking to coach. With six teams, we currently have two under-16 coaches, plus two adult coaches who are all from within the club. We are expanding the programme by offering junior coaching placements to those interested athletes that are 14 years or over. We feel personal development opportunities for all is very important.
Currently we are victims of our own success; we have grown from 60 to over 120 members in 18 months. Despite their best efforts the current school gym location isn’t providing the hours, the space or equipment to allow us to continue to develop. Therefore our young members have launched a fundraising campaign that has raised over £17,000 to assist getting our own gym. This is now our main objective. With a solid business plan in place we have just submitted our first property lease proposal on an industrial unit in the town. However, this doesn’t mean we will be successful. The club is expecting a rocky road but will not be put off. Our own property will allow us to meet our full community objective which is to provide a full time Cheer facility for the area. We will no longer have to use specialist outside facilities, reducing overall costs further for our members. We will be able to set up more teams to increase inclusion, such as Para and Special Educational Needs teams and teams for adults as a fun keep fit option. Hopefully we will provide a great sponsorship opportunity for an organisation that is looking for youth engagement and challenging stereotypes. Fingers crossed!
Wolverines are looking forward to the future and really appreciate the expertise Sported has and will be providing to help us achieve our aims. Thank you!
For more info on Basingstoke Wolverines Allstar Cheer Squad: