Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, voiced her support today for basketball during a well-attended Westminster Hall debate where the future of the sport was discussed at length by MPs from across the UK.
The debate was brought about following a joint request from the three basketball bodies operating in Scotland, Wales and England, and the British Basketball Federation (BBF), to raise awareness of the sport’s various benefits to society and to outline the financial challenges that it currently faces.
In the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics, UK Sport revised its funding strategy and re-directed investment towards those sports they believed to have medal potential, leaving funding for team sports such as basketball under serious threat.
Commenting following the debate, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“I am very proud to be able to say that one of the premier basketball teams in the UK, Glasgow Rocks, are based in my constituency of Glasgow Central, playing their home games at the Emirates Arena.
“The Rocks players and staff do a fabulous job of promoting basketball to the wider community, and regularly participate in outreach events and school visits. This is a real inspiration to many young people.
“It’s also great to see the Scottish Government doing its bit to support basketball at a grassroots level. The CashBack for communities programme recently awarded £492,800 to Basketball Scotland, allowing them to deliver 16 basketball school projects over a three-year period in some of the most deprived areas of Scotland. This speaks to the broad appeal that the sport is continuing to develop – something that I’m desperate to see continue.
“Like many others, I’ve been extremely concerned by recent reports that basketball in the UK is facing a funding shortfall of almost £1m. With the Commonwealth Games due to start in only a matter of weeks, it’s crucial that the UK Government do the right thing to secure not only the future funding for the sport, but the places of the Scottish and England teams who have done so well to qualify”.