Friday, 21 January 2022
A BOY is campaigning for a basketball court in Henley so that more people can enjoy the sport.
George Allen, 11, who started playing about five years ago, is raising money for the new facility at Makins recreation ground, off Greys Road.
He had the idea after he joined the Reading Rockets team and realised that people in Henley wanting to play basketball have to travel at least half an hour to be able to do so.
George, who lives off King James Way, said: “It’s such a fun sport and it would be great to have a court here so that people don’t have to travel that far.
“I know a lot more people would play — a ton of my friends love basketball.
“I started watching basketball videos on YouTube and my favourite player is Stephen Curry. My mum and dad got me a basketball net and it started from there.
“It’s good exercise and good for your mental health and wellbeing. When I spend too much time on screens, I start feeling the need to go outside and playing basketball makes me feel refreshed.
“I would love to play professionally if I become good enough at it.
“Games and activities online are good because you can socialise and talk to friends but I think that sometimes it’s just good to get out and it’s better to see people in
“If we had a basketball court, people could come down and it would be good to meet more people.
“It would give people the opportunity to play when they don’t have the space for it at home.
“My friends thought it was a great idea and I would love for more people to support it.” George, who attends Gillotts School, would like a full court with two nets as well as floodlights.
He has asked Henley Town Council for its support and it has agreed to look into the idea.
His mother Stephanie, 42, who sometimes plays basketball with him, said: “George is very creative and has so many ideas and lots of them are really good.
“This is his thing and he has taken it on and done a lot of research.
“He is really passionate about it and when he is passionate about something, he will make it happen.
“The support from local people for something like this is really important — that’s how the skate park refurbishment came about.
“Basketball is a sport for all ages and the recreation ground is very accessible for everyone and easy to walk to. I think a court would go really well with what is already up here in terms of facilities and it could really grow.
“We were also hoping that businesses and shops in town would want to sponsor the court.”
Town clerk Sheridan Jacklin-Edward said: “We were impressed with George’s proactivity and drive. He is a remarkable young man.
“We are investigating the feasibility of a small multi-use games area. Once we have reviewed the logistics and practicalities of the idea, we will report our findings to the recreation and amenities committee for discussion and review.
“The committee will have the final say on whether to take the proposal forward. The joy of local government is that many great ideas come from local residents.”
George has set a target of £15,000. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/henley-
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