This year has been fantastic for the PSA Foundation, with the full return of the tour and courts reopening around the globe, as a Foundation we played a key role by developing new partnerships to make squash more visible and accessible, increasing our engagement with community programs and providing critical mental health and wellbeing support to our players.
As we look forward to 2023, we are excited to announce a new strategic plan for the next 5 years which will allow us to further enrich people’s lives through squash and make a positive impact in squash communities around the world.
Adriana Olaya, Head of PSA Foundation
During 2022, the PSA Foundation has made great strides in growing squash globally, leaving a lasting legacy across the world and increasing the games accessibility.
Lets take a look at the year and the milestones we were able to achieve.
A hugely successful activation event was staged at Birmingham New Street Station in the lead-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games
Thousands of commuters and Birmingham residents discovered the exciting sport of squash and met the world’s best players at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with world-class glass court is erected inside of Birmingham New Street station’s state-of-the-art atrium- which sees an estimated 170k visitors a day.
An action-packed week of activity rallied the local community and saw thousands of school children having a hit on court as well as open play sessions for the public, a number of taster sessions including squash for beginners, plus exhibitions matches and an opportunity to meet professional players.
We were thrilled to be able to showcase squash at the games, provide a lasting legacy for the game and inspire the next generations of squash players- with the British Open now taking place in the city in 2023.
Increased mental health support has been offered to even more players through a valuable partnership with Sporting Chance and Wellness Ambassador programs
Mental health support for PSA players has been fundamental for the PSA Foundation, and this year we have continued to champion this aspect of our work and raise funds that support the mental health of players on tour.
The JP Morgan Tournament of Champions Luncheon, with funds from this event supporting Women’s Leadership Program raised an amazing $41,375,with all of the proceeds benefiting the mental health aspect of the program.
The event, which included a reception, ceremony and the evening matches of the ToC, featured a number of guest speakers, including US No.1 Amanda Sobhy, who spoke about her own struggles with mental health and how she wanted to speak up and help create a health and wellness platform to remove the stigmas around mental health and foster a spirit of helping each other.
At the PSA Foundation, we believe that there are no better people to help inform on the challenges of competing on Tour than the players themselves and the health and wellness programme is testament to that
Back in 2021, the PSA Foundation launched a Health and Wellness programme led by the players themselves, these ambassadors have continued to be valuable representatives for players of all levels on the tour
Professional sport presents unique pressures for athletes and the aim for this initiative is the players will spearhead a Tour wide effort to share struggles, advice, experiences and support each other.
Key interviews with Amanda Sobhy, who opened up about her battle with an eating disorder, and Mary Fung-A-Fat, who highlighted how the squash community saved her after the loss of her father, were particular highlights of the incredible strength and leadership from our ambassadors.
We look forward to highlighting more stories and discussion points from our ambassadors in 2023.
October 10th also marked World Mental Health Day, with the theme for this year, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, being ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority‘.
During their warmups for the matches on the day- which coincided with this years US Open- players wore T-Shirts highlighting the key message that you can’t see everything on court.
Celebrating women in squash and increasing their participation in the sport
A major aspect of what we do is empowering championing women within the game this year women and girls at all levels to participate in squash, with many key aspects of our work this year championing women within the game.
As part of the #SayPeriod campaign, Professional Squash Players Mary Fung-A-Fat, Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Clyne discussed the challenges women’s players face on tour, the stigma attached to periods, and what can be done to support women athletes more effectively.
Set up by BBC Sport, the #SayPeriod campaign wants to stop using euphemisms to describe periods, saying it can perpetuate stigmas and stop people discussing the issue.
In September, we celebrated Women’s Squash Week. This week is an international campaign that aims to celebrate and raise the profile of female squash.
We championed this key awareness week by showcasing and highlighting a number of organisations we work with, as well as extraordinary stories of women and girls in Squash. This included:
–An interview with Teen Sensation Anahat Singh: at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, thethen 14 year old won her first ever match at the games, impressing and inspiring viewersand players across the world!
–Nicol David Organisation: their Little Legends programme is continuing to grow and make a huge difference to children in Kuala Lumpur.
–The rise of Georgina Kennedy: who in one year rose to the worlds top ten and won a Commenwealth Games gold medal!
Additionally, next year’s TOC will mark the launch of a leadership programme to encourage more women to participate in the game at a coaching and mentoring level- with the fund providing them the opportunity to earn the key qualifications to provide them this platform.
This will be provided in partnership with US Squash- learn more here.
The ‘We Are One Fund’ has been relaunched as a hardship fund to support players who face severe hardship
The “We Are One” Fund that successfully supported professional squash players across the globe facing financial distress during COVID relaunched with a new focus.
With the Tour back in full swing, the fund will continue to support players in need but has refocused as an emergency hardship fund that will aid players facing severe hardship such as career ending injuries, family calamities and unforeseeable emergencies.
This fund will play a pivotal role in ensuring players across the world at all levels can both engage and thrive within our sport.
Government funding has been obtained to continue the Allam British Open legacy programme and pilot funding to stage activities with local schools at major PSA events in England
Over the last decade, the Allam British Open Squash Championships has brought the “Wimbledon of Squash” to excited crowds in Hull- raising the profile of squash in the area and bringing the sport to new audiences.
Rackets Cubed, who are partnered with us, run one of their many programmes in Hull and have been able to coincide the British Open in their work.
Founded in 2016, Rackets Cubed is a UK charity that delivers integrated sport, education and nutrition programmes to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged young children and raise their aspirations.
Through the British Open, they have been able to inspire children they work with to pick up squash and see the best players in the world in action.
Funding from the Allam British Open legacy programme has enabled to keep Rackets Cubed in operation in Hull for at least three years, ensuring their vital support remains in place.
The PSA Foundation has set up a new committee to stimulate the development and build of outdoor squash courts across the globe
Squash Federation for Iran
PSA Foundation have continued to make several strides in growing outdoor squash.
Outdoor squash is not a one size fits all movement. Outdoor squash symbolizes accessibility and the opportunity to enjoy the game at a grassroots level and have fun playing a fast-paced and social game.
As the popularity of outdoor squash continues to increase, we’ve seen multiple instances of tournaments and organisations utilising this movement to grow the game:
–The Squash Federation of Iran (SFI) has shown how outdoor courts can bring squash to a new generation- with this initiative further increasing Iran’s progress to being the capital of the outdoor game.
–The Instel Steel Outdoor Squash Invitational Pro Tournament got underway for 2022– highlighting the unique and engaging aspect of squash that is outdoor squash- with the tournament being the coldest outdoor squash pro exhibition ever- with temperatures of 35°F (Around 1°C)!
2022 has seen the PSA Foundation expand the number of community programmes that it supports including the Nicol David Organization
Nicol David Organisation visit the Malaysian Open
We’ve continued to support a range of squash organisations across the globe to grow the game and make the sport more accessible for all- developing the future of the game.
New and exciting partnerships were also started, expanding our community network:
–Canadian Inclusivity Squash Program (CISP), which is an innovative squash program that teaches squash to persons with disabilities (mental, emotional, or physical) in a fully inclusive and safe environment.
CISP programs are dedicated to deliver squash to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities. NL’s program also recruits Coaching Assistants who are usually in high school or university and helps them learn how to coach squash and gives them opportunities to interact and become friends with people with disabilities.
– Nicol David Organisation, and its flagship programme- ‘Little Legends’. The non-profit was launched earlier this year in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, by Malaysia’s former World No.1, eight-time World Champion, legend Nicol David, and Colombian former World No.81 Mariana De Reyes.
With her strong desire to build on this legacy and give back to the community, Nicol decided to create the Little legends program.
Under the ‘Little Legends’ initiative, a subsidized after-school programme, children aged 8 from low and middle income families will take part in a five-year programme comprising of twice-weekly squash training and English tutoring.
Rebound hits a milestone amount of squash equipment/items donated
PSA Foundation’s Rebound programme recently highlighted that it has given 2,782 squash items to non-profit organisations across the world.
Rebound is an initiative that collects usable squash gear to send as donations across the world.
We hand pick the programmes that receive Rebound donations so we know we’re sending squash gear to underserved communities that work with children who otherwise would not be able to play squash
Recycling old gear is an environmentally friendly way to get children into the sport.
One of the many programmes that has benefitted from our Rebound initiative is Egolisquash. The South African programme aims to engage kids from previously disadvantaged communities in an intensive and long-term experience.
They do this by incorporating squash, fitness, tutoring, community service and mentoring in order to change children’s lives for better.
Sharon Sibanda, Egolisquash Coordinator spoke with us on how Rebound has enabled them to have a greater impact in their community.
“With Rebound’s donations, our organization has managed to provide kit and equipment to our Innercity and Soweto youths.”
“Access to proper kit and equipment is a huge challenge for our players who come from vulnerable communities and cannot afford the costs of sports equipment, apparel and footwear.”
“We hope to expand delivering our programmes beyond South Africa and reach out to more youths who would not otherwise have opportunities to grow through sport due to their backgrounds.”