14 March, 2024

CEO Update: 14th March 2024

Written by Justine Baynes, CEO of British Wheelchair Basketball

Photo: BWB / Ahmedphotos

With just under six months to go until we head off to the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, it feels like a good time to start a regular update from BWB. I would love to be able to send all our members and supporters a regular email, but until we upgrade our digital communications platforms we will have to make do with this approach!

Paris 2024

We are now in full swing with our preparations for Paris 2024. Our GB Women’s and Men’s squads have a regular programme of camps and competitions over the next few months. We will be watching the upcoming repechage tournament carefully to see which teams will be joining us in Paris and are excited to see the competition draw to find out who we will be up against in the group stages.

I hope that many of you will be able to travel to Paris to cheer our teams on. We are also working to set up some get-togethers where all our families, friends and supporters can meet up here at home.

Club Conference

I am delighted to say that we will be holding a club conference on June 29th in Nottingham, where we hope to have representatives from all our clubs together. There will be a packed agenda for the day, where we will share a lot of the work that we have been doing in the last year or so and what we will be doing to ensure the growth of our sport. This will be followed by an evening awards ceremony to thank the people who have given so much to our sport.

More details will be published shortly about this event, including an agenda and ticketing information.

Junior Review

Last year we announced a significant review into how we deliver our sport for junior participants, and I would like to thank everyone who took part in that. The results were very positive, and we now have some solid evidence on which to base our development. This work aims to help clubs support younger players and ensure that young people can enjoy wheelchair basketball in a safe environment. We will be sharing much more detail about the specific initiatives at our club conference in June, such as a fund to help clubs put on more sessions, and access grants for equipment.

National League and Inspire Leagues

Our domestic leagues continue to deliver some outstanding performances. With the introduction of the Inspire Leagues we are now able to offer competitive and recreational opportunities to play, broadening our community. Of course, there is always work to do in this area and we welcome the support and dialogue from our clubs and partner organisations.

UK Sport

We have just submitted our next funding bid to UK Sport, which will enable us to deliver the performance programme through the LA Games cycle. After Paris 2024, we will find out what funding we will be awarded, to be implemented from April 2025. We then will be starting on the funding bid for Sport England, which is used to support the grassroots and community side of the game – that new four-year cycle begins in 2026.

Onwards and upwards!

Everything that we do is about attracting more people to play wheelchair basketball, which will lead to more people involved in the sport (coaches, officials, clubs, supporters etc). In turn, this enables us to attract more diverse sources of income and ultimately gives us a larger player pool from which to select our GB athletes at the Paralympics.

This year is going to be incredibly important for us as we enjoy the increased profile of our sport. I will share more in later updates about some of the activities that we have planned to maximise this opportunity. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events, or in Paris this summer!

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