Sport has been hit hard at all levels due to the global pandemic and there has been no exception for squash with clubs around the world having to close or operate at limited capacity for many months. Competitive squash essentially also coming to a standstill, players being deprived of their beloved sport and stakeholders fighting hard to make ends meet during these unprecedented times.
Within its constraints, the PSA Foundation has stepped up where possible to provide players and the community outreach programmes that the PSA Foundation partners with some much needed support to combat the hardships that this year has brought.
Here’s some of our highlights this year:
The Launch of the We Are One Fund
In May 2020, the PSA Foundation created the “We Are One Fund” to provide relief to PSA-members adversely affected by the pandemic and the suspension of the PSA Tour. The fund was well-received, brought the global squash community together and exceeded its original target goal by raising now more than $100,000. $90,000 of this has so far been distributed as hardship support to players in need from different ages, rankings and nationalities.
PSA Foundation Partners With Sports Mental Health Charity Sporting Chance
The PSA Foundation also provided PSA players with free mental health support through its partnership with Sporting Chance. A 24/7 mental health line is available for players with free counselling sessions. The PSA Foundation also held online seminars for players and a live talk with Ali Farag and Tony Adams to break the stigma around mental health and encourage more players to reach out for help if they need it.
PSA Foundation Let’s Talk Series
During lockdown, the PSA Foundation also developed the “Let’s Talk Series”. The webinar sessions connected players with various industry professionals to upskill their knowledge in different areas with a view to: a) make their squash careers more sustainable; and b) prepare them for life after squash while they had free time on their hands. The Zoom talks included themes such as mental and emotional health in sports, performance psychology and managing emotions under stress, Marketing your brand & growing sponsorship(s) during COVID-19 and more.
Developed Partnership With SquashSkills
The lockdown also presented an opportunity to strengthen the PSA Foundation’s partnership with SquashSkills who launched a free and fully tailored webpage for PSA Tour players to access appropriate home workouts. Additionally, they gave all PSA players three months of free access to all their routines, workouts and sessions, which has been crucial for the players who have been limited to the confinements of their own homes and separated from their usual coaches and support teams.
PSA & PSA Foundation Launches Squash Hub
In November, the PSA Tour team and PSA Foundation jointly launched the SQUASH HUB online learning platform to provide (young) players with the opportunity to develop life skills outside of the squash court like marketing, finances and other important topics. As additional support, the PSA Foundation also created a weekly Monday Motivation email with free resources for players to expand different skills, interesting reads and other resources that would support them during the toughest months of the pandemic.
PSA Foundation Partner Programmes Community Hub
The PSA Foundation also focused on supporting its partner outreach programmes by creating a support network and ideas hub specifically for them to share ideas and initiatives with each other. The foundation team also published weekly video highlights to share their missions, did live workout sessions with players and participated in food drives to provide basic necessities to the families and children that are part of the programmes. Furthermore, a grant of £10,000 was made available by the PSA Foundation Trustees that will allow the survival and return of these programmes when courts reopen, so they can continue with their valuable work in vulnerable communities.
Distributed over 800 Items of Rebound Donations
Through its ReBound program and a collaboration with England Squash to collect used items, the PSA Foundation provided over 800 items to all of the programmes it supports. These items have been collected and donated by clubs, squash players, and supporters who help bring items like rackets, grips, shoes, goggles, string and kit to all of the global programmes that need these essential materials to exist.
2 Talented Players From Underserved Backgrounds Supported on the PSA Tour
Left Picture: Innocent Mukumba [Left] – Right Picture: Amukelani Zitha [Right]
Another aim of the PSA Foundation is to support emerging talent and it therefore provided two talented players from the community programmes in Zimbabwe and South Africa with a PSA membership to pursue their dreams of becoming professional squash players
At Event Fundraisers Before The Pandemic
Before the global COVID-19 outbreak, the PSA Foundation raised $6,500 in funds through an auction conducted during the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York to support the crisis created by the Australian bushfires. All received funds were donated to WIRES and NSW Rural Fire service, which were charities selected by Australian players and who worked tireless to stop the fires. At this year’s Windy City Open, the PSA Foundation teamed up with MetroSquash, the local Squash Education Alliance (SEA) urban squash programme, to fundraise and promote the organisation’s great charitable causes, raising $6,700 which was split between both charities.
Women’s Squash Week Celebrated with Squash Latina
As usual, the PSA Foundation also actively celebrated women’s squash week by hosting a live talk, in collaboration with “Squash Latina”, with current and former top female players who spoke openly about the need to increase female participation in all areas of squash. These spaces provide crucial opportunities to share ideas and initiatives that should lead to more participation overall.
Thanks to all those that have supported the PSA Foundation this year, we couldn’t have done it without you!
We can’t wait for what 2021 holds for us!