Reach for the Sky Basketball

Promoting social inclusion in South Lanarkshire

Reach for the Sky Basketball was founded by Graham Hunter having come to the end of a long dedicated run playing basketball at club and international level in Scotland, and at High School and university in the United States.

After completing a short career in the professional game Graham became involved with community basketball initiatives, something he did not have the benefit of himself when growing up.

Working with children in other areas outside of Scotland and outside of his own community always struck a nerve with Graham, as he wanted the same for the young people where he was from. This is what gave birth to Reach for the Sky Basketball. As Graham explains:

I honestly feel that in many areas across South Lanarkshire, like Blantyre where I grew up, there is a very negative attitude towards attaining a better life and trying to follow your heart and chase your dream. That is why our message to young people is to Reach for the Sky. I was the most unlikely athlete as a child, but put in the hard work and stay positive and you can achieve your dreams whether it’s basketball, university or other sports. Believe in yourself – that’s where it starts.

What makes Reach for the Sky’s delivery model different is that it focuses on social inclusion and maximum participation rather than on a small select group, like elite athletes. Reach for the Sky has grown considerably since being founded in 2010, with the organisation now delivering basketball development academies, leagues, camps, schools provision and summer streetball tournaments across South Lanarkshire.

HOW SPORTED HELPED

Sported supported the growth of Reach for the Sky by appointing one of its volunteer mentors to work alongside Graham on funding applications and to act as a sounding board, providing objective business advice.

Affordability and accessibility remain two of the biggest barriers to participation for young people from deprived areas, so to support Reach for the Sky’s objective of increasing sporting provisions in the South Lanarkshire area, Sported is funding their ‘Club Coach CPD’ initiative.

The programme will see 30 young people receive training to become qualified basketball coaches. Furthermore, each of the participants will receive expert mentoring and will get the opportunity to gain first-hand experience delivering sessions, thus increasing Reach for the Sky’s capacity whilst, at the same time, creating new pathways into employment.