Santander Universities has been in partnership with the University of Essex since 2007, providing valuable support to a range of activities and initiatives. Through this partnership, they support the Essex Rebels to help develop coaching and vocational skills within the team, which also directly benefits local community groups and schools engaged in the team’s outreach work.
Two Rebels players and current Essex students explain what that support has meant to them.
"I want to outline how important and beneficial the outreach to the community programme has been and continues to be. Not only to me as a student athlete, but also to the children I have been coaching throughout the year. I feel like I have gained a lot more support during games due to the children that I coach wanting to make the effort to come and see their coach play. This has had a many different benefits for both parties. For example, this has included a fun and more exciting environment during game days and has also allowed the children to see what the game of basketball is really like when played at the highest level in this country. And, if they put in the work during the sessions when we coach in the community and at schools, there is no reason why, in years to come, they can’t be on the big stage like us instead on in the stands supporting.
"My philosophy as a coach is improving the next generation, especially girls, as this is a very niche part of the market at the moment! From playing at the highest level gives me the knowledge to be able to teach these kids at school effectively and also allows me to learn every day and work with different people improving my skills as a coach and player and also a person.
"At Essex Rebels we thank you again for giving us this opportunity and hope that we can continue this community outreach and grow."
"As a student, Santander has provided me with the opportunity to not only impact children's lives but also positively effect mine. It has been an honour to coach children and be a witness to how my words can positively build self-esteem and motivate these young kids. Being a positive role-model, has enabled me to be a better person on and off the court and be a voice for the children.
"With most of the children attending Essex Rebels games, it makes me accountable for my actions and gives me the opportunity to be a positive example for these young kids, an opportunity that I have been able to thrive in, by interacting with the children throughout the game.
"I believe some of my stronger leadership qualities have rubbed off on the children, as each week they make it easier to be coached. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch them grow and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity."
University of Essex
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