Leicester Warriors Community Basketball at Evington Leisure Centre

More than a sports team, Warriors is a community led club, which provides basketball, health, and wellbeing activities to young people, with a focus on deprived communities including inner city estates. We aim to engage young people in positive activities, no matter what their own financial situation. Warriors is an established and sustainable club, and to achieve that sustainability, we seek and have secured funding from a variety of sources including Sport England, Sported, the National Lottery, the Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, Hastings Direct, the Samworth Sports Opportunity Fund and many more. Because of this we never turn young people away, even if they can’t afford to pay subs.

Warriors is led by a volunteer Management Committee which is representative of the community with which we work. Our volunteers include people from every major local religion, and ethnic group, and many of our committee, and our volunteer coaches, were born, and live in the areas where we work.

Warriors works with more than 350 young people every week with 80% male and 20% female. Most are young people aged 7-24 (80%) with 20% of participants aged 25+. Approximately 70% of the people we work with are from BAME communities. Participants are from a wide range of backgrounds including Caribbean, African, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Filipino, Lithuanian, Polish, English Mixed Race and many others.

The families we work with have been hugely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and now by the cost-of-living crisis, even as local authority and voluntary sector provision is further reduced (owing to lack of funding). This is a perfect storm of economic challenges, and a mental and physical health crisis, in the wake of the pandemic, and in the teeth of the cost-of-living crisis.

Our activities focus on developing teamwork, respect for others, appreciation of responsibility and a respect for one’s community and peers. We teach healthy living, fitness and nutrition, as well as addressing issues around social responsibility, behaviour, and the importance of education and employment in young people’s lives.

All the young people supported also have access to support from our volunteer psychologist, to help them with their wellbeing and mental health. The young people we support are healthier, fitter, more confident, and more able to positively manage their own lives, education and future careers.

Leicester Warriors Community Basketball at Gateway College

Our Community Projects

Time in Mind 2022

Young people have been severely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, and then by the cost-of-living crisis. Some have suffered from mental health ill effects, and more and more of the young people we work with exhibit common mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. With funding from Sported, we worked with Chris Hallam, behavioural psychologist and internationally accredited coach, to support young people to return to engagement with Warriors, and other activities. This included engagement using zoom, and face to face sessions.

We reached out to current and previous participants and worked with partner organisations to encourage and support young people to reengage with physical activity outside their home. Using techniques base on mental resilience and mental preparation we helped young people develop strategies to cope with their challenges, and to overcome barriers to reengagement.
Through training for coaches, volunteers and parents, we also built capacity to provide ongoing support for young people.

Return to Play – Covid 2020

As the 2020 Covid 19 restrictions began to ease, we were faced with huge challenges to start delivering activities safely for young people. With funding from the Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation we developed a safe and supported pathway for young people to return to positive activities.

Working with the NGB, and within government guidance, and with reference to national youth guidance from the National Youth Agency, we set guidelines including understanding social distancing, wearing ID, safeguarding, identifying and managing potential symptoms of Covid 19, through which safe and effective activity might be safely delivered. We worked with coaches with the life experiences, community standing, knowledge and experience to work during such a challenging time. All workers received detailed briefing and training (delivered digitally or socially distanced) along with practical sessions delivered in open spaces and abiding by changing social distancing guidelines.

We delivered outreach and engagement activities in public spaces, on the streets, in parks, and through social media. This included promotional/communication activity to inform parents and young people of the safety measures that we have in place to promote greater confidence, and to allay fears that many potential participants had.

Through the project we engaged more than 100 young people, providing ongoing social and psychological support.

Sporting Futures – Covid 2020

With funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, we delivered the Leicester Sporting Futures project, engaging more than 350 young people, whose lives had been impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown. We delivered 18 outreach and engagement sessions, connecting with young people and encouraging them to reengage, or engage for the first time, with positive activities, to improve mental and physical health and wellbeing. We worked with 175 young people involved in risky behaviours including substance misuse, anti-social behaviours, involvement in gangs, and disengagement from education or employment.

Through the project we were able to help young people to develop strategies to reengage following the lockdown, and to provide peer and mentor support to combat individual challenges and barriers.

Hastings Direct 2020

A grant from Hastings Direct helped Warriors to return to activity following the 2020 lockdown. As we needed to operate in smaller groups, with ‘bubbles’ of young people, we needed additional equipment, and more coaches to deliver each session. Accuracy of our recording of participant contacts details is essential and so we moved over to using a tablet, to take registers, removing the need for paper and pens. We also needed to support with hand sanitiser, cleaning costs and signage to make sure our young people, coaches and volunteers were safe.

This project helped Warriors to get back into action, returning to support young people whose lives had been thrown into turmoil by the pandemic, and by the lockdowns of 2020.

Young Futures – Covid 2020

With funding from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland we delivered the Young Futures project. This included bespoke outreach and engagement activities in public spaces, on the streets, in parks, and through social media. Through the project we worked with nearly 250 young people involved in risky behaviour, those at risk of becoming involved in crime, and those involved in recruiting other young people into criminal activity (e.g. County Lines). Activities included one-to-one engagement, activity in small groups, and through using social media and video conferencing.

We delivered a programme of group activity including basketball sessions (skills, drills, shooting and fitness training); multimedia and music sessions), boxing and physical fitness (in small groups and one to one) and social engagement activities. Activities focused on building relationships with young people, identifying and addressing risks or challenges faced, and building confidence and self-esteem, and a willingness to further engage with the programme. We focused on building confidence in the credibility of the programme to build a strong basis of trust.

Sported 2021

This project provided a safe and effective pathway through which young people might reengage with sporting activity, as we recovered from the initial impact of the pandemic, and as moved out of the third lockdown, into the summer of 2021. We delivered three indoor sessions per week of 90 minutes per session, with 2 qualified coaches following our governing body return to play guidance. As we needed to operate in smaller groups, with ‘bubbles’ of young people, we needed additional equipment, and more coaches/volunteers to deliver safely.
We also needed to stay safe while delivering sessions, with the continued use of hand sanitiser, face masks, cleaning sprays for equipment. This ensured the continued safety of our young people, coaches, and volunteers.

Approximately 20 young people attended each session, with more than 100 young people engaged overall. We encouraged participants to attend regularly, as a pathway to regular participation. Coaches welcomed young people to turn up and play on the day but managed attendance levels to ensure safety. We used indoor facilities including Highfields Centre, Gateway College, Evington Leisure Centre and Crownhills Community College. Coaches all accessed training from a psychologist and considered wellbeing, and emotional and mental health barriers of the young people. Where necessary they drew upon the club’s wellbeing officer to access specialist support.

Return to Play – Cost of Living – 2022

With costs spiralling, and families severely affected by the cost-of-living crisis, funding from the Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation was invaluable in funding our free activities for young people in deprived communities. Families cannot pay higher costs of private activities, or even cover the transport costs to get to sessions or provide basic equipment, such as trainers. Simultaneously local facilities have increased their prices by up to 150%. This means that it is even more expensive for Warriors to deliver our activities. The grant funded us to deliver weekly sessions in three community venues (Highfields St Matthews Evington and Spinney Hills)

Positive Future – 2022 Sport England Jubilee

With funding from the Sport England Jubilee Fund, we provided targeted engagement activities, with a focus on young people from the BAMER communities in Leicester. This community has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and then by the cost-of-living crisis, with many families unable to provide funding for their young people to engage in positive activities.
Positive Future enabled us to deliver targeted outreach and engagement activities, and with the support of a volunteer psychologist, to develop tailored support pathways for young people. We focused on identifying and overcoming practical and personal barriers to engagement for more than 200 young people, who live in some of the most deprived areas of Leicester.

Our funders and supporters


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