NN Streetballerz and NIA students transform Racecourse wall

NN Streetballerz and NIA students transform Racecourse wall

NIA students who are also members of local basketball initiative NN Streetballerz have been working to transform a wall on Northampton’s Racecourse. 

Working alongside Marvin Kudzanai from Lemonpop Workshops and NIA art students, the young people have created a mural on the wall near the basketball courts, with a bright and positive basketball-themed design. 

The project was led by NN Streetballerz, a scheme run by Basketball Northants which aims to provide positive sporting activity and early intervention and positive diversionary activity for the young people of Northampton.  Their 'turn up and play' sessions are targeted at young people of secondary school age, any level, ability or background, everyone is welcome. NN Streetballerz targets players who love to play at the Racecourse but at the moment are not in an affiliated basketball club. 

Anna Letts, NN Streetballerz, Basketball Northants said: “Part of attending NN Streetballerz basketball sessions on Friday evenings at the Racecourse involves wider projects, using sport or art as positive diversionary activity.  

“During a youth voice activity at a session, we asked the players how they would like to improve the local area around the courts and a mural was an idea they liked, which worked well because the Racecourse park ranger Vikki Maloney had previously suggested a mural too.  

"NIA were very enthusiastic to get on board as many of our players attend that school, and they were keen to see the students getting involved in a community project like this. We held a planning session to encourage the students to think about what their values and identity are, what this may look like creatively and how they could express themselves and their interests through art. 

“It has been brilliant to see basketball-obsessed students who claim they don't do art, getting thoroughly involved. We worked with our partners to make it happen, plus funding came from the National Lottery Community Grants and Northampton Town Council. Thanks also to the Umbrella Fair for use of their facilities on the day, as well as during our weekly sessions.” 

Art teacher Jess Swain from Northampton International Academy, which is part of East Midlands Academy Trust, said: “We were very happy for our students to get involved with this project as it’s a chance for them to get creative, and improve their local area for everyone in the local community who visits the Racecourse. 

“It's really good to see the students working as a team outside of school on something they can be proud of. Lots of NIA students walk past this area daily so it is great to see them taking pride in this place.” 

NIA student Sandu said: “It puts colour in this area which was rather dark before. Everyone is determined to work as a team to get it done. Instead of vandalism, this is a piece of art done by the school community.” 

NIA student Adina said: “I like being creative, it gets your mind off things.”  

NIA student Daniel said: “I think the mural and NN Streetballerz will impact kids positively. It can help them have the courage to take the right path when they're older.” 

NIA student Bilaal said: “The mural and NN Streetballerz encourages people from the next generation not to get involved in any crime. When you come here you can get involved in basketball and other projects and feel safe” 

NIA student Ricardo said: “We're doing this so we can get more people involved in basketball. It looks good, there is a focus on more activities that just sport.”  


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