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Hackney coach named as finalist for national coach award

Greenhouse Sports at Clapton Girls' Academy, Clapton, London, UK. Tuesday, 13th October 2015. Picture by Ben Stevens

Fionnuala Duhaney-Keown, a Senior Head Basketball Coach with London youth charity Greenhouse Sports, was recently named a finalist from hundreds of nominations for Sport Coach UK’s Children’s Coach of the Year. The national coaching award recognises coaches who work specifically with young people to encourage sport participation rather than elite performance, and will be presented at the UK Coaching Awards ceremony in Wembley on 29 November.

Based full-time at Clapton Girls’ Academy in East London, Duhaney-Keown delivered over 1400 hours of coaching in the 2015-16 academic year and engaged 200 girls from the school on her basketball programme, many of whom were new to the sport. Her teams have succeeded at borough and regional level, with her Under 14s girls’ team finishing second at the London Finals. Nineteen of her players also went on this year to compete at National League level with Greenhouse Sports’ community basketball club.

Raised in Hackney herself, “Coach Fe” (as she’s known) focuses on the personal development of the young people she works with, ensuring their experiences on her basketball programme lead to results that not only help them on the court, but also in the classroom and later life. Her programme at Clapton Girls’ Academy is one of 49 school-based sport programmes delivered with this ethos by Greenhouse Sports, a sport for development charity working to engage young people in London and motivate them to reach their full potential.

“Fe’s impact is on more than just the technical sporting ability of her participants and the competitive results of her teams. Her strengths as a coach also lie in the positive changes she can make in the attitudes and behaviours of the young people she works with. This is what makes her truly inspiring,” said Greenhouse Sports Chief Executive John Herriman. “As one of her former participants recently put it, ‘I think if Coach Fe wasn’t in the school, I wouldn’t have been in the school either.’”

“I began coaching at 16 and it has grown into a lifelong passion of mine,” said Duhaney-Keown. “When I see players I work with succeed – in all areas of their lives, not just basketball – I am so proud. To think I may have contributed to their growth in some way is why I love this job.”

Greenhouse Sports coaches like Duhaney-Keown deliver sport for development programmes in schools and community clubs, including 16 based in the East London boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. The programmes aim to develop not only participants’ technical sporting abilities and fitness but also important life skills such as resilience, team work, leadership, communication, self-discipline and confidence.


Basketball programmes like Coach Fe’s are made possible by the support Greenhouse Sports receives from Prudential plc. We are also grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for the support they provide to all our mainstream school programmes. 

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