Spirit of Squash is currently focussing its efforts in the London boroughs of Hackney and Waltham Forest, two boroughs which fall within the top 40 for multiple levels of deprivation nationally: Hackney stands at 11th and Waltham Forest at 35th. Opportunities for young people to access and play squash are limited to leisure centres with the exception of one club in Walthamstow. Squash court bookings at leisure centres, even out of peak times, are extremely high and demand is constant. Securing these venues so that children and young people can experience squash is crucial to the success of the projects so we are working closely with GLL staff who manage facilities in both boroughs.
We have two new integrated squash and education programmes launching and more work underway with several schools and a group of 10 young people from a local youth club.
The Hackney project includes two primary schools:
Grasmere Primary School, where we are delivering weekly one hour mini-squash sessions to children at their local Clissold Leisure Centre. The intention is to bolt-on academic study and a sports leadership qualification for these children in the coming weeks.
Shoreditch Park Primary School where we are delivering weekly squash sessions and maths tuition to a group of selected pupils – working closely in partnership with the school to add value to the pupils’ educational journey.
The Hackney work also involves a partnership with London Youth and we are delivering a weekly squash session to 10 girls from the North London Muslim Youth Club.
Jas Hothi, London Youth Sports Development Officer commented, “This is a great partnership, offering the girls an opportunity to play a sport they have never tried and probably never considered trying before.”
In Waltham Forest, our partnership with Smart Squash and Walthamstow Squash Academy continues to grow.
We have our second squash and education programme due to launch imminently with Our Lady and St George’s Primary School and we are already delivering one hour weekly sessions for their pupils at Walthamstow Squash Club.
We are also delivering mini-squash in-school for two hours per week at St Mary’s Primary School and a further one hour at the club with pupils from Forest Secondary School. St. Mary’s School is also looking to hold two new squash after-school clubs in the near future.
All of this activity is helping to provide a constant stream of new squash players at the Walthamstow Squash Academy and at the Britannia Leisure Centre in Hackney where we have regular Friday afternoon /evening junior sessions.
One of the great amateur touring squash clubs, the Escorts, who since 1933 has provided a social environment in which to enjoy squash has been considering how they can support the development of the game and in particular make a contribution towards community projects. They invited James Sandwith to bring members up to speed with Spirit of Squash’s activities across London.
“It was great fun speaking at the Escorts Squash Rackets Club AGM last night raising awareness of Spirit of Squash’s projects that give London’s kids the chance to play, to learn and to lead. The room was full of fellow sportsmen with a passion for the game and who have benefitted physically, socially and professionally from squash. Some are now keen to see what they can give back to the sport,” explains James Sandwith. Individuals contributed within days and the club’s board are now discussing how a collective approach might be made to support Play & Learn projects.
James suggested that clubs participating in the Bath Cup may wish to fund a place on one of our inner city programmes so they can follow a child’s development through the leadership and squash opportunities. He suggested companies looking for a CSR project should also get in touch. Spirit of Squash offers a packaged solution of education and sport that can make a difference to young Londoners’ lives. It’s the perfect thing to sponsor for companies of any size.
Please contact us for more information: Play@SpiritofSquash.com