As part of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6th, we are taking a look at the programmes we support all over the world, with today’s piece focussing on the continent of Europe. So far there are two squash programmes based in Europe, including the PSA Foundation, that all use squash to improve quality of life in underserved communities.
A consistent member of the international scene for squash throughout history, Europe has produced a number of the all time greats and possesses many countries active in the sport. Of those competing on the PSA Tour, 8.4% are from England (10.8% from the United Kingdom), 4.5% are from France and 2.7% from Germany.
RACKETS CUBED – UNITED KINGDOM
Rackets Cubed is a rapidly growing charity, currently based in six cities in the UK that run integrated squash, tennis, education (STEM / Maths) and nutrition programmes for local inner-city children from high IDACI (Income deprivation affecting children index) schools. Check out the below video which gives you a glimpse at what one of their programmes look like in action.
Squash isn’t a sport readily available to children in UK schools, yet builds great principles, values and physical literacy that aids the development of children. Rackets Cubed brings together families, schools and local businesses for the benefit of children from high IDACI backgrounds. With all these stakeholder from the community involved, these programmes are able to offer local children a series of squash coaching sessions, educational support, a nutritious meal and exposure to aspirational facilities that inspire the children to aim high in life.
The Rackets Cubed programmes have shown great success, with four of the London-based programmes reporting exciting impacts from their work: 62% of parents surveyed noticed improvements in their child’s energy levels, happiness, and/or confidence; 54% of parents surveyed reported improvements in their child’s concentration levels, listening and/or social skills.
With restrictions for indoor sports remaining strict in the UK throughout the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the priorities of Rackets Cubed temporarily have switched to their ‘Community Box Programme’. These boxes contain donated food, living essentials, activities and educational resources, distributed to the communities they’re based around. This has been hugely successful across England, over the course of this last year giving out a whopping 47,121 boxes, 565,452 meals, across 10 sites nationwide, connecting with 34 different schools!
Find out more about Rackets Cubed here: https://racketscubed.com/
PSA FOUNDATION – UNITED KINGDOM
A registered charity as of 2016, the PSA Foundation is the charitable arm of the Professional Squash Association, which is the global governing body responsible for the administration of both men’s and women’s professional squash around the world.
Being the biggest platform in the sport, the PSA Tour is a great place to make sure we are growing squash in all the right ways and looking out for the wider communities. The PSA Foundation aims to support the growth of squash globally through community engagement, providing equal opportunity and player wellbeing.
The initiatives that spread across the three pillars of: Community engagement, equal opportunity and player wellbeing are diverse and wide ranging. Community engagement includes uniting likeminded community programmes from across the globe, a squash kit donation and distribution initiative for these organisations, and leaving community legacy programmes where PSA Tour tournaments take place.
The PSA Foundation also looks out for the welfare of the players competing on tour, providing 24/7 mental health support, educational support and networking opportunities to support their transition to life after squash. The Foundation all the while drives the principles of inclusivity and equality at all tiers of the game.
Since the pandemic began over a year ago, the PSA Foundation’s priorities also had to make a change. With the PSA Tour postponed and still today without a full return, a large proportion of players who usually depended on tournament prize money, exhibition matches and sponsorship deals were left suddenly without an income. This gave way to the launch of the ‘We Are One’ Fund, distributing funds to those players most adversely affected by the pandemic. The PSA Foundation have so far raised and distributed $110,000. During the pandemic, the Foundation also forged a strong partnership with the UK’s largest provider of mental health services working exclusively with professional and elite sports participants, Sporting Chance. The purpose of this relationship is to fill the gap of mental health support within the challenging landscape of professional squash.
Find out more about what we have been up to over the last year and our usual activities here: https://psafoundation.com/2021/03/26/who-are-the-psa-foundation/