Article 29.09.2021

Putting research into practice: Healthy Stevenage's Basketball Roadshow

We're excited to share the latest update from our partner Healthy Stevenage. Hertfordshire County Council have been working with our researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the PEDHSC theme on a project to improve young peoples’ health and access to physical exercise in Stevenage. 

Researchers collaborated with Hertfordshire County Council by engaging in a consultation with young people and later writing up a report outlining their findings. Access the full report here. Hertfordshire County Council have adopted a Whole Systems approach to health and are keen to engage with young people in order to prioritise issues identified by them.

The report documents the views of young Stevenage residents and the realities of living in this Hertfordshire town. They identified factors around affordability, crime and anti-social behaviour, transport and places to go and eat which influenced their ability to access physical activities. Participants said that free sports facilities, such as basketball and tennis courts, are not well maintained and that there are not enough facilities for them to use. There are few opportunities for young people to join clubs or be physically active in their free time.

One of the ways Healthy Stevenage has used the study’s findings is through the creation of an ambitious basketball roadshow programme. Over the summer, young people aged 11-16 were provided with quality coaching in four different parks across Stevenage. Coaches from A-Z basketball turned up four days a week for the whole of August to provide coaching sessions.

“The whole idea is to try and get young people out for their wellbeing, mentally and physically. Try and give them something positive to do in the community.”

Albert Ziwa, founder A-Z Basketball

Basketball festival in Hampson Park

Basketball festival in Hampson park

To celebrate the success of the programme, a basketball festival took place on Friday 27 August in Hampson park. The sessions and the festival were funded through the Young Peoples Healthy Hub. To hear from the organisers and learn more about the programme, watch the video documenting the festival here.

“We’ve had a really tough eighteen months with lockdown and it's just getting young people out playing sport and interacting again”

Anita Marsden, Lead community couch