A basketball club in Bedford is helping to keep school pupils out of danger in one of the rougher areas of the community, according to its founder.
Mile Road’s Bedford Social Basketball Club was set up just after Christmas to give Bedford Academy pupils over the age of 16 a place to play the sport.
Its founder and coach, Irishman Michael Craddock, says the club’s effect does not end there.
“I’m happy that they’re there playing basketball and not out wandering the streets getting involved in whatever happens on Mile Road, which isn’t the nicest area of Bedford,” said Craddock.
“I think it’s helping the community and, as we grow, it can definitely have an impact.”
Craddock, a P.E. teacher at the Academy, says he hopes the club will boost his pupils’ performances not only in sport but across all areas.
“I hope it can have an impact on the attitude and grades of pupils,” he said. “It definitely has an impact on behaviour.
“I’ve noticed a difference in the Bedford Academy pupils that attend.”
Although his club is yet to form a team for competitive basketball, Craddock is looking to cast his net further afield.
“We are looking to join a league against local clubs from the three counties,” he said.
“We are actually a registered club with England Basketball.
“If we get funding from various governing bodies, we could employ some coaches and get a younger group going.
“We don’t want to lose the ‘come and play’ aspect to it.
“Eventually, we’ll be looking to do an hour for people to come and play and then an hour for the team to train.”
The club trains on Monday nights at 6pm at Bedford Academy and usually attracts 24 participants from across four Bedford schools: Bedford Academy, Biddenham International School and Sports College, Hastingsbury Upper School and Community College and Mark Rutherford School.