The Arsenal Foundation has helped to fund Safe Haven Basketball, an inclusive London-based basketball club for people of all abilities aged 14 to 25. Grace Colverd, 26, tells us about the club she founded with her mum.
“I live in London with my mum and dad, with my brother close by, but my sister lives in New York – I have lived there and in Japan, as well as Hertfordshire. I love sport, and especially women’s sport. I play basketball and tennis, I used to play cricket as well, and I love watching all of these sports and football – I like to go to both men’s and women’s matches.
“We started Safe Haven Basketball after we moved back to London from New York – my mum found our coach and a venue, and me and some friends started playing. I love basketball and I wanted to carry on playing with a team like I did in New York. I’d played since I was little, and in New York my team was called Safe Haven, which is how our club got its name.
“I love the NBA and the BBL – I’ve been to watch games at the Copper Box, where the London Lions play, and I’ve had some coaching from them. We went to Madison Square Garden to watch basketball when we lived in New York, and I even got to play on the court there too.
“Our sessions take place during term time on Mondays in Westminster, Wednesdays in Hackney and Saturdays in Camden. The sessions include warm-ups, skills training and a game.
“I’ve always enjoyed scoring baskets and I have been able to practice a lot – my team call me The Machine because I’m good at shooting. We’re competitive, too. We’ve been to Manchester and Nottingham to take part in Special Olympic competitions, and we’ve hosted teams from around the country. We took two teams to the National Summer of Sport Special Olympics in Manchester in 2021 at the National Basketball Performance Centre. We also like having smaller competitions with schools, and also playing together in competitions against each other. I was selected to play for the Women’s 3x3 Team GB basketball team for the International Special Olympics in Berlin in June this year, which was a fantastic experience.
“Basketball has given me so much. I’ve made new friends, grown in confidence and I’m fitter. When we moved to London I didn’t really know anyone, but now I know the team from all over London and we do such fun things together, going to basketball matches and having special events at the ends of term. Travelling to games in the mini-van and playing against people I don’t know has been fantastic for building my confidence, and I feel really strong mentally and physically when I play.
“I really enjoy watching Arsenal, especially the women – they have been so important in developing the game. And by supporting my club and clubs like mine, Arsenal are really sharing their love of sport and making it possible for everyone to have a sport they enjoy. It’s a fantastic thing to do and has so much positive impact on so many people – thank you Arsenal for being such great community champions.”
For more info visit safehavenbasketball.co.uk
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