The number of women and girls taking part in sport continues to grow, and one club that has put female participation at its centre is Boroughmuir Blaze Basketball Club.
Based at the Crags Sports Centre in Edinburgh, Boroughmuir Blaze has doubled the number of female members in the last year – thanks to its range of squads, welcoming environment and commitment to grow the sport.
The club was formed in the basement of Edinburgh’s Boroughmuir High School in 1961 and has gone on to become a mainstay of Scottish basketball for more than 50 years.
Women’s basketball, however, was established at the club five years ago and has reached new heights in 2019, as Boroughmuir Blaze basketball development manager Eoghann Dover explained.
He said: “When I arrived at the club around five years ago there was no women’s basketball at all at the Craggs. Since then we’ve established groups for under 12 girls, under 14 girls, under 16 and under 18 teams, as well as a recreational women’s session which is very well attended by mums at the club, their friends and people from the local community.”
The women’s session is already taking great leaps forward, having recently played its first friendly game against Stirling, while the other female squads play in Scottish national leagues and regional development leagues.
The team at Blaze is passionate about creating a nurturing environment for the women’s game to thrive.
Eoghann continued: “We run activities like girls only tournaments and invite primary school teams to take part which has been a great success so far and we’ve gone from around 40 girls playing last year to more than 80 taking part.
“We’ve built a home here at the Crags which has allowed us to do outreach work within the local community, encouraging greater participation and developing clear player and coaching pathways for everyone involved in the club.”
A group of Blaze players helped re-open the previously derelict Crags Centre in 2011, creating a sustainable social enterprise which, very simply, aims to change lives through sport.
“It’s been great to see the number of girls playing shoot up – it’s been a really big step in the right direction”, Eoghann added, “For us, it’s not just about having high numbers of female members but creating a club that cares about women’s basketball and takes it very seriously.”
The club is one of 500 sports clubs across Scotland that will receive free period products thanks to a £50,000 Scottish Government fund.
sportscotland will work in partnership with sport governing bodies to help them distribute funds and ensure more people feel comfortable to participate in sport and physical activity.
Boroughmuir Blaze recognise schemes like this will continue to help foster a female-friendly environment for players.
Boroughmuir Blaze Basketball Club chair Ally Reid, said: "We want all of our players to feel at home, included, comfortable and dignified when they play sport, and this fund will help us continue to champion this inclusive environment.”