New move to grow squash
By ELLIE MAWSON
The Professional Squash Association Foundation (PSAF) have announced a partnership with England Squash and Rackets Cubed that will see the three organisations work together to enhance grass-roots participation in squash throughout the United Kingdom.
A UK registered charity, Rackets Cubed provides after-school enrichment programmes for disadvantaged inner-city children at the Roehampton Club in South West London. Founded in 2016, Rackets Cubed seeks to provide inner city children with significant extra-curricular support through an integrated sports, educational and nutrition programme with their vision driven by increasing evidence that active and healthy children behave and perform better in school.
The partnership between the PSAF, England Squash and Rackets Cubed will aim to engage with a broad range of young people to get them active within the sport, whilst jointly promoting the game within the wider squash community. All three parties will also work together to help tackle social issues and support the health and educational needs of disadvantaged young people involved in the sport.
“We are delighted to partner with England Squash and Rackets Cubed and hope that this will help grow more awareness of the positive impact that these projects do and go beyond the squash community, said PSA Marketing and Foundation Manager Adriana Olaya (right).
“Squash can bring great benefits to the physical and mental well-being of young people in terms of self-esteem and confidence and can be played all year around.
“We believe that by aligning the national governing body, the professional players’ association and a specifically focused sport based charity, like Rackets Cubed, we can have a tangible impact on the community and share the benefits of squash with a bigger audience.”
“Over time we hope to create a core group of ‘Partnership Hubs’ that can act as regional centres to drive this activity around the UK and see this as a long-term project that will continue to grow and benefit over time.”
Former World No.3 Alison Waters (right), patron of Rackets Cubed, said: “I recently moved to be based at the Roehampton Club and the people working there have done an amazing job with the Rackets Cubed project so far.
“It’s fantastic to see the impact and difference this programme has had on children in the local area so far and I’m really excited to see how the project continues to grow moving forward.”
England Squash CEO, Keir Worth, added: “We are thrilled to partner with the Professional Squash Association Foundation and Rackets Cubed, and create meaningful opportunities for young people to pick up a racket.”
The partnership launch follows the announcement earlier this week that the PSA Foundation has become an officially recognised charity in the United Kingdom after receiving confirmation from the Charity Commission for England and Wales. A new website and logo has been unveiled to coincide with the announcement.
The PSA Foundation is the charitable arm of the PSA and was created with a clear mission statement: To support and grow squash globally through community involvement, elevating equal opportunity and fostering player wellbeing.
Over the past 18 months, the PSA Foundation has already spearheaded a number of charitable endeavours, making a significant difference in the squash community across the globe.
The Foundation’s hugely successful ‘ReBound’ drives have seen squash equipment provided to over 500 children involved in urban outreach programmes in India, Colombia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, an initiative which has been instrumental in providing children in disadvantaged communities with access to recycled squash gear.
Through the support of ‘ReBound’, South African Urban Squash programme Egoli Squash was able to compete on the international stage for the first time ever last November and sent two players to play in Zimbabwe after ‘ReBound’ provided clothing, equipment and transportation costs.
During March’s Allam British Open, over £4,000 was raised through the support of the PSA Foundation for 11-year-old squash player Sumner Malik, who has been diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare form of brain tumour.
The PSA Foundation is also committed to helping current players adapt to a life after squash and held its inaugural post-squash career day during this year’s Canary Wharf Classic, where speakers from across several businesses were on hand to offer their advice and tips to players on how to successfully transition from the professional circuit to a more traditional career path once their playing days are over.
“We are delighted that the PSA Foundation is now an officially recognised charity in the United Kingdom and we are committed to creating a thriving and sustainable environment for squash players to flourish,” said PSA Marketing and Foundation Manager Adriana Olaya.
“Our professional players are the cornerstone of the future of professional squash and they work hard in promoting it and making the sport as exciting as possible. Their wellbeing and guaranteeing a healthy and sustainable career for them is one of our main objectives.
“Through the PSA Foundation, we are determined to make a lasting impact in the lives of all of our players, regardless of age, gender or precedence. Together we can protect the heritage of squash and inspire the next generation of players.”
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: “We welcome the PSA Foundation’s new status as an official charity and are focused on increasing player education, developing the sport through community and grassroots programmes and offering equal playing and earning opportunities across both genders.
“As one of the few sports that has a joint Men’s and Women’s Tour, we have been advocating for equal opportunity for years. This is naturally one of our core objectives as we ultimately look to achieve parity in income, which will help to drive the sport forward.”
In addition to confirming its status as an official charity, the PSA Foundation is also delighted to unveil its new website, where squash fans can find more information and stay up-to-date on all of the Foundation’s initiatives: www.psafoundation.com
An informational video on the PSA Foundation can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGvf5wyzQXE
Pictures courtesy of PSA