Basketball’s strengthen and adapt plan begins with initial $3m, and more to come

After months of consultation, research, planning and preparation, the basketball community’s Strengthen and Adapt (S&A) Plan has been given the green light to proceed with a $3 million budget.

The wide-reaching plan, released publicly at the Basketball New Zealand AGM in May, targets eight critical areas of improvement.

Today, the first of nine community-focused basketball roles were advertised. The people filling these roles will make up an initial community workforce tasked with powering some of the Plan’s new basketball projects, resulting in more basketball opportunities for all Kiwis.

The Strengthen and Adapt Plan is the result of an extensive nationwide consultation that was carried out after Sport New Zealand announced the fund last year.

The Plan was presented to Sport New Zealand earlier this year. Sport NZ agreed to fund three key projects with $1.35m over three years. Basketball New Zealand and other partners then sourced further funding to bring the total investment to $3m.

Basketball New Zealand GM of Community Basketball, Brad Edwards, says to get to this point is a significant achievement.

“This Plan, supported by this level of funding, is a massive deal for basketball. To get to this stage of resourcing projects with more great people in the regions is really exciting.

“Before we could access funding, Sport NZ wanted to see we had a strong understanding for what was holding basketball back and what our communities need. The work to develop the Plan was extensive, so this really is the basketball community’s solutions to those barriers and opportunities. Their feedback identified the eight critical areas outlined in the Plan. Now those have been accepted by Sport NZ, the Board and the community, the job now is to implement them,” says Edwards.

Phase one of the project involves:

  • Regional development of three focus areas | Working within targeted regions to increase the level of direct support, programmes and services, initially across three core areas:
    • growing the game for women and girls (page 12 of the plan)
    • connections to community clubs (page 20 of the plan)
    • spaces to play basketball. (page 22 of the plan)

Already 14 of the 35 BBNZ member associations are involved in this. Further member associations in other parts of the country will become part of this work.

  • External review of the basketball delivery structure and the role of independent providers (page 16 – 19 of the plan) | Basketball New Zealand is in the process of contracting an external provider to deliver a plan for this, hopefully to be presented at the Basketball New Zealand AGM in May 2022.
  • Basketball for people with disabilities (page 24 of the plan) | Partnering with Sport NZ to complete a review of basketballs’ current and potential role and how to better connect, support and enable providers. Project to commence early 2022.

Basketball New Zealand is also dedicating team members to drive the Plan nationally, in collaboration with the new regional roles.

Seven of the newly advertised roles are spread throughout South Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury.

Damien Ekenasio, GM Capital Zone Basketball Trust, is one of those who helped source additional funding for their region, resulting in two roles created to service the wider Wellington zone.

“Real collaboration and an open partnership approach with Basketball NZ has enabled us to identify wider opportunity to grow the game with two new community focused leadership roles. We’re excited to be part of a Nationally led focus over the next three years to enhance and strengthen basketball in our Capital Zone.”

Edwards says investment into the Plan’s target areas will grow and the resulting projects will be sustainable long after the three-year plan runs its course.

“Ultimately this is a once in a generation opportunity to enable our vision of a hoop in the heart of every community. We are actively supporting our member organisations to take the Plan and run with it, partnering with us and bringing their own local funders in to support it, as Capital Basketball has already done in their community.

“The total investment into the Basketball Strengthen & Adapt Plan could be $6 million or more over the next three years,” says Edwards.

More information on the Strengthen and Adapt project, including the Plan and vacancies, can be found here.