In February, the Strathclyde Vikings announced their charity association with Rising Stars.
Rising Stars is a local charity which offers basketball training, coaching, and mentorship to young people aged 10 to 18. Basketball (M) Club President Liam Downing said: "As a club, we wanted to do more for our local community, and the values of Rising Stars align with our own."
Rising Stars aims to improve the lives of young people from less affluent areas of Glasgow by helping them realize their potential through basketball. Since its inception, the charity has partnered with the University of Glasgow and local schools to reach those in need.
The charity’s key goals are:
Physical Activity for Everyone
Offering after-school programs and clubs to ensure kids are active. Giving them the opportunity to build basketball skills and have fun.
From the Court to Classroom
Outside of physical activity, the charity offers academic tutoring, mentorship and skills development sessions to help young people realise their potential.
Trips, Tournaments and more
The charity organises trips to expose kids to amateur and professional basketball. They also offer university tours. The Vikings will get involved by offering coaching and mentoring support to the charity.
Liam said: "Mentoring will involve giving life advice to these kids and helping them with their schoolwork. Our volunteers will be responsible for mentoring 10 or so kids at a time and checking in with them every few weeks."
Liam grew up in a single-parent household in the East End of Glasgow. He highlighted the importance of sports programs in providing a positive outlet for kids growing up in rough neighborhoods. Liam said:
"I contribute my personal development and a lot of the success I’ve had to playing basketball. Many of the guys in the club have grown up in similar areas and have similar backgrounds to mine. This is why we feel it necessary to give back to our community, and Rising Stars is a perfect channel to do this."
We really hope to make an impact on these kids."
In addition to partnering with Rising Stars, the club has been involved in a number of other charity initiatives. Last semester, the club organised a raffle in collaboration with Strathclyde University’s Foodbank Society (@sufoodbank). The society works to raise funds and collect food and necessities for vulnerable people in Glasgow.
The Vikings successfully raised £450 for the foodbank. The club released a statement on their Instagram (@strathclyde_vikings_bc): “We are incredibly excited and grateful for the opportunity to help our community. We are a big club that understands how much of an impact we can have on our local community.”
“We hope the foodbank can buy any resources they require or food needed to stock up. There are more charity and fundraising events on the horizon, so stay tuned and take part in helping those in need.”
From the funds raised by the raffle, the SU Foodbank was able to purchase £450 worth of food essentials for the Glasgow NE Foodbank.
In November, members of the club participated in Movember to raise awareness and money for men’s health. To support the Movember participants, the club organised a pool tournament, a 2K tournament and a basketball bingo as fundraisers.
The club started off 2023 strong with a mountain climb at Ben Lomond to raise money for Strathclyde University’s Mary’s Meal Society (@strathmarymeals). All donations raised by the climb funded resources and supplies for a sponsored school in Malawi. The Vikings surpassed their initial fundraising goal of £400 and raised a total of £1,088 for SU Mary’s Meals.