basketballscotland’s Social Impact Programme | Case Study
Aaron (not his real name or image) is another young person who is making positive changes to his life as part of the basketballscotland CashBack School of Basketball Programme. Alongside enjoying the basketball sessions and developing a passion for the game, Aaron has been supported by our Social Impact Officer in life off the court.
Noticeable positive changes have been identified in Aaron’s recent behaviour.
Aaron has an incredibly challenging home life. Due to involvement in criminal and gang activity, Aaron’s entire family were uprooted and moved from their local community. Their safety was of paramount importance.
In addition to the stress and upset moving home has caused with the family being in danger, Aaron has a strained relationship with his father. Aaron finds his Dad to be an aggressive and violent individual. Despite not living with his Dad, with no other male role model, it is his father’s behaviours that Aaron mirrors. Living with his Mum and Gran, several of his mother’s relationships have had negative physical and emotional impacts on Aaron.
Aaron has identified that mirroring his rarely seen father’s behaviours is a coping strategy for his anxieties. This has resulted in disruptive behaviours in class, towards school staff, and, out in the wider community. An additional element contributing to Aaron’s anxiety is the fear that council services create further upheaval and distress by taking him away from his Mum.
Friendships are important for Aaron. He has three to four friends that he trusts greatly and has shown that he will go to great lengths to ‘back them up’. Unfortunately, this has resulted in trouble. Poor decisions have led to several encounters with police and social services due to acts of community vandalism and assault.
The recent emotional and physical difficulties at home, the families enforced relocation, and criminal activity has resulted in school staff being majorly concerned about Aaron’s mental wellbeing.
Aaron’s behaviour in school and the community, and his incredibly difficult life circumstances to date made him a suitable candidate for the CashBack School of Basketball programme. Since linking up with our Basketball Social Impact Officer for St Mungo’s Academy, they have been on a growing journey. Aaron has immersed himself in the basketball sessions provided by the programme. His growing enthusiasm for the sport has helped him to develop a supportive relationship with the Basketball Social Impact Officer. Over time, trust has grown between the pair. It seems that Aaron has found a positive role model.
Prior to engaging in our programme, Aaron’s behaviour was causing an increasing amount of concern for the school. The school wanted to intervene for two reasons. Firstly, to reverse the trend of Aaron’s increasing involvement in criminal activity. Secondly, to provide support with the aim of influencing his behaviours and habits.
With the trust and positive working relationship between Aaron and our Basketball Social Impact Officer clear to see, the senior school staff requested our Basketball Social Impact Officer to engage in further 1-2-1 interventions with Aaron.
Our support for Aaron has been fourfold. We have provided basketball sessions to improve his physical wellbeing, help him feel part of a team and provided a controlled environment to vent some of his frustrations. This has seen him sustain his participation for the first time in a sports environment. Our Social Impact Officer has supported Aaron in class whilst Aaron was on a reduced timetable due to bad behaviour. The two have also continued their one-to-one sessions. Finally, Aaron has been supported to engage in new opportunities at school to develop healthier and more positive habits. This has seen him work with the Scottish Association for Mental Health and Scottish Sports Futures. An outcome of this has been to develop coping strategies for Aaron’s anxieties.
Positive changes to Aaron’s life have seen him transition back into a regular structure and credit for this change has been given to our Basketball Social Impact Officer and our programme. Aaron continues to be consistent with the programme, using basketball to build positive support networks, engage with peers in a positive fashion and maintain a positive state of mental and physical wellbeing.
Recently, Aaron has shown he is more aware of his behaviour towards others and there have been positive signs of improvement with his wellbeing. He is more open to listening and talking through his thoughts, allowing him to be guided in a positive manner . There are less encounters with criminal activity, the local police and there are sound improvements in school attendance and in class behaviour.
Despite Aaron’s journey in our programme being relatively young, the impact of the CashBack School of Basketball programme has been considerable. It has provided a crucial support network for Aaron and facilitated personal growth when Aaron previously had an absence of support.