A Swindon man is on a mission to encourage more children to take up the game of basketball after stating the sport kept him out of trouble as a youngster.

Thebe Blackie, who is affectionately known as Coach T to those he mentors, after competing throughout his school and adult life, wanted to use the sport to promote positivity to kids across Swindon.

In order to do that, he set up Swindon Basketball Camp (SBC), towards the end of last year and since then, things have gone from strength to strength.

So far, the 30-year-old runs sessions in three different schools with over 50 children a week getting a chance to shoot hoops for the first time and Blackie believes young people have a lot to gain from the sport.

He said: “The game of basketball fathered me, it taught me discipline, how to be a good teammate and how to be accountable in isolated situations.

“Basketball kept me out of trouble as a kid and gave me an identity. I want to be the ‘me’ I needed when I was their age.

“I think all children have a sport they love when they are growing up but sometimes there aren’t enough resources available for them to explore it, so I am dedicating SBC to counteract that for young people who love the game of basketball.”

Figures from Basketball England published in 2022 state that over 1.1 million under-16s play basketball once a week, with roughly 800,000 boys and 400,000 girls showing an interest in the game.

After seeing the appetite for the sport within Swindon following their recent Half Term basketball camp, Thebie is now hoping to further expand his work into the rest of Wiltshire.

He added: “I don’t think there are enough words to describe the passion and love I have for the game and I’d love to pass that on to young people.

“The idea is to grow basketball in Wiltshire from a grassroots level, we want to reach the next generation of players from primary school age.

“Our vision is to expose young people to basketball and work on all the basic fundamentals, from passing and footwork to dribbling and game IQ to get to a similar standard to football in the UK.”

The 30-year-old is now planning to host a Summer Holiday basketball camp, with updates to be posted via SwindonBasketballCamp.com or on social media through SwindonBasketballCamp on both Facebook and Instagram.