We are a community based Basketball club that started in 2005 with 20 children in Crosby. We found that we were travelling from the North to the South of Liverpool to play basketball and decided to form our own club, Sefton Basketball Club, registered with England Basketball and play national league. In 2006 we changed our name from Sefton Basketball Club to Sefton Stars for our senior men, Sefton Starlight’s for our senior women and Sefton Junior Stars for our junior teams.
The club won Sefton Sports Council Club of the year 2007. This was a phenomenal achievement for such a young club and was down to the hard work of all the committee volunteers and players. We won this award not just for our basketball but what we had achieved within the community of Bootle, which is one of the most deprived areas in the country.
In 2006 we looked at 2 sports centres that had been closed down due to Sefton council’s commitment to build a new leisure complex at Litherland Park in Netherton. Spiralling costs of court hire for our teams meant that we had to look at other options if the club was to grow. We looked at the old Bootle stadium in Maguire Ave Bootle which had a 2 court facility equipped with a gymnasium room and 2 squash courts. Although this centre looked ideal for us with the advantage of additional income from the gym and squash courts, the committee decided to go with the totally run down facility at Fernhill Road. This site was on the grounds of the St George of England High School and gave us the opportunity to develop educational links with the school. We struck a partnership to use the sports hall from 4pm to 10pm weekdays, 9am to 5pm Saturdays and 10am to 4pm Sundays to offer activities to the community. We had to completely redecorate the interior with help from our own volunteers, members of the community, prisoners on day release and British Gas Engineers. At the time the centre was an attraction for drug dealers and Friday night alcohol sessions. We tackled this situation ourselves head on. We didn’t want to involve the police at the start so we could reach an understanding that we were all parents and volunteers who were unpaid and trying to open the centre for the community. We stood toe to toe with these people and told them they no longer had a place here at Fernhill. Consequently our volunteers were shot at with bb guns, assaulted and had handbags stolen. This was not a safe environment to try to deliver a service voluntarily. Through research we found a regeneration group, Breathe Plus, who were to develop the area over a ten year period. With the help of Mike Murphy from Breathe Plus we secured funding for a security perimeter fence. This was duly erected by a local fencing firm Specialist Fencing Ltd. The company had never had so many problems in erecting a fence. It became obvious that some people did not like what we were doing and we were told that once the fence was erected it would be ram raided and torn down. The ground rules were set and the battle had commenced, Specialist Fencing kept coming back time and time again to carry out repairs to vandalism on a scale they had never come across before. Eventually the message got through that people involved in substance or alcohol abuse were not welcome at our sports centre. The problem with a security fence is that you keep people out whilst the aim is get people in, but with improving local relationships people are coming in. Anti social behaviour is virtually non existent around the centre and although it has taken just on 3 years to get there the effort has been well worth it. The erection of the fence has created a safe environment for the community to come and enjoy the facility. We are indebted to Breathe Plus’s support through Mike’s predecessor Chris Richardson and to the connections they have given us. Now in 2008 we are able to leave the security fence gate open to allow free access to the community without problems.
We are now called Sefton Stars Basketball Club and have achieved charitable status, our Company number is 08307787 our Charity Number is 1154271
We have over 150 members playing basketball for fun and competitively at national league level. We have a boy’s, a girl’s, a women’s and a men’s team. We offer basketball at Premier and North West Conference for our boy’s and girl’s youth teams from under 14s to under 18s. Senior women play division 2 north England Basketball League (EBL) and our senior men play Division 3 North EBL. Our season runs from September to April. We now offer Basketball, Badminton, 5 a side Football, Indoor Cricket, Rounder’s Netball, Indoor Bowls and for the 1st time in years Morris Dancing. In the sports hall to we have replaced the old tiled floor with a solid beech wooden floor. We have kitted out a gymnasium which the school also use as a dance studio and from there we offer classes in Boxercise, Khai-Bo, Spin Bike, Fit Ball, Legs Bums and Tums, Zumba and Yoga. We also offer Health awareness encompassing obesity strategy, a sense of pride and respect to onesself and ones community resulting in less anti social behaviour and drug/alcohol abuse. Crime reduction will come from keeping people occupied and interested in what goes on in and around the centre.
In 2006 we identified through the children of the neighbourhood that they had good talents and an eagerness to learn and develop. We formed a team to play in one of the local leagues. We appointed one of our younger development coaches in the club to undertake this project. With the help of three of our u14 players a team was put together of local boys who had not played basketball competitively before . The team entered into Warrington Local League in the summer. They trained once a week and competed over a 3 month period every Saturday. They finished 3rd in the league qualifying for the play-offs. In the play-offs they won their semi-final but lost to a vastly more experienced team in the final. Apart from the three players we supplied the rest of the team had not played basketball before. For some this was their first ever medal or achievement in anything, and six of that team have progressed to our national league teams. These kids have been able to achieve this with the direction and opportunity afforded by the club.
We are three star accredited club to England Basketball and we are a member of the Merseyside Basketball Association. These are exciting times for our club and I have seen it grow from its early days to become recognised throughout the UK and within the England Basketball Association.
When you join our club you join our family. We are a strong family that you can trust and rely on because we will not let you down