Greenhouse Sports is proud to announce its first programme outside of London since its inception in 2002, partnering with a school in Portsmouth to deliver a full-time table tennis coaching programme.
The charity, supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, has partnered with Castle View Academy to deliver a full time table tennis coach and mentor to pupils from the areas of Paulsgrove, Cosham, Portchester and Port Solent.
As Greenhouse Sports now marks its first national expansion outside of London, the vision is simple: currently there are 4 million children living in disadvantaged areas across the UK. These children are missing out on opportunity and the charity’s model has proven there is a way to level-up their life chances.
Director of Coaching, Jason Sugrue, says:
“Celebrating our 20th year, the goal is to help more young people across the UK, many of whom face poverty and challenging circumstances, and we are delighted that Principal Christian Down and the team at Castle View Academy in Portsmouth recognised this and have pioneered our first school partnership outside the capital.”
Portsmouth native and long-term Greenhouse table tennis Coach Ashley Willetts first started working with Castle View Academy in late 2021. Like all Greenhouse Sports programmes, Ashley runs coaching sessions for pupils before, during and after school (including breakfast clubs, lunch clubs and after school clubs) and is embedded in the school like a full-time member staff. This is an important part of the Greenhouse philosophy of delivering multi-hours of intensive coaching and one-on-one mentoring
Ashley, having gone through the education system in Portsmouth as a child, joining Greenhouse in 2011, and was the county champion of table tennis in Hampshire, competing in the Senior British League Premier Division, commented:
“It’s a great feeling to be working in my home city at Castle View with Mr Down, the amazing students, and team. Since joining the school in October 2021, we have already noticed a huge difference in the students – who are now playing table tennis on a regular basis, keeping them active and motivated at school.”
Speaking on the inaugural expansion of programmes outside of London, Castle View Academy’s Principal, Christian Down said:
“We are delighted to team up with Greenhouse Sports as their first school partner outside of London to provide table tennis coaching for our students. Greenhouse does important work to inspire young people and help them best engage with their learning. Over the past few months, Ashley has immersed himself in our school community and his coaching and mentoring has already made a positive impact on our students.
“Following the disruption of the past two years as a result of the pandemic, it is important that we are offering our young people opportunities like this where they can be active, learn new skills and strengthen their confidence. We are very much looking forward to continuing to build our partnership with Greenhouse for the future.”
John McAvoy, Greenhouse Sports Ambassador adds: “Having worked with Greenhouse Sports for a few years now, I have seen first-hand the brilliant work it does – I know the students at Castle View will see the immediate and long term benefits of having someone like Ashley looking out for them.
John now a Nike-sponsored endurance athlete, previously spent 10 years in prison and found redemption and a new way of life through sport. John continues: “Sport is truly an important tool to help transform lives. In 2022 we need positive role models and access to sport for all backgrounds more than ever before, which is why I support Greenhouse Sports and coaches like Ashley.”
“Having worked with Greenhouse Sports for a few years now, I have seen first-hand the brilliant work it does – I know the students at Castle View will see the immediate and long term benefits of having someone like Ashley looking out for them. Sport is truly an important tool to help transform lives. In 2022 we need positive role models and access to sport for all backgrounds more than ever before, which is why I support Greenhouse Sports and coaches like Ashley.”
- Jason Sugrue, Director of Coaching
- Coach Ashley
- Christian Down, Castle View Academy's Principal
- John McAvoy, Nike sponsored professional Triathlete