Plymouth Raiders provide coaching for young residents

We’ve been working with the Raiders players and coaches to provide a series of free basketball coaching sessions for children aged 7 and up in Devonport during the school holidays.

Ben Fox, coach for the Raiders team has been spending Tuesday afternoons at Pembroke Street and Granby Street, teaching the children the basics of basketball. With help from Danny and Millie from the Raiders, the sessions proved popular with a great turnout at each event.

For the final session this week, Ben brought along professional first team players Denzel Obiara and Tola Okiki to coach and speak to the children about the importance of playing sport and eating healthily.

Tola, originally from London, had moved to Plymouth to play for the Raiders this year and was keen to be involved, understanding the importance of community work. Tola said: “I’ve got first-hand experience of how sports can help keep you from hanging around on the streets. When I was growing up it kept me away from falling in with the crowd. It’s great to see children here choosing something that makes them happy and keeps them healthy.

“Funding for events like these is important – these are the most important years of your life as they shape who you become as a person. You’re at your most impressionable and we need to make sure that there are plenty of things for local children and teenagers to do to keep them from getting into trouble.”

Communities Worker Hayley Kemp arranged the sessions alongside Ben and provided healthy snacks and water for when the children took a break. Hayley said: “It’s lovely that a local team as big as the Plymouth Raiders have been able to support these sessions. We’ve had so many children involved in these sessions and they were so excited to meet the players.

“It’s a great way to teach children about nutrition and to get them moving in a way that’s fun. We will be supporting the children who have taken part to feed into a new Raiders basketball hub so we’re hoping a lot of them will continue!

“We put on a competition on the last day that meant two lucky winners have won a family ticket to go to a Raiders game and some of our players here has been invited to try out with the Raiders girls’ and boys’ team!”