Who are Edinburgh Lions?
Edinburgh Lions is a volunteer-led basketball club based at Broughton High School near the City Centre of Edinburgh. Since 2007, the club has been dedicated to providing members with a safe sanctuary to play the sport they love as part of the Lions family. Due to the city centre locale of the club and the family friendly atmosphere it provides, Edinburgh Lions are proud to have always attracted many members who come to Edinburgh from around Europe and the rest of the world to study or work.
Currently over 75% of the clubs members are non-Scottish nationals with over 20 nationalities represented at the club. This has created an extremely diverse culture from which the club has been able to thrive, both on and more importantly off the court.
The club has gone from strength to strength in recent years culminating in the most successful season in the club’s history with their National League Men’s’ team winning this year’s Division 2 Playoff Title, while their Lothian League Men’s’ and Ladies’ teams have also made Finals within their respective leagues.
What is Lions Concern?
Now heading into the club’s most important season to date, where the National League Men’s’ team will be playing in the top Scottish basketball league for the first time, and with try-out’s starting in just a few weeks’ time, the new pricing model introduced by the City of Edinburgh Council presents a new threat to the club’s aims, and its very existence.
Edinburgh Lions Head Coach Jero Munoz, a founding member of the club who has coached the men’s team from Lothian League to the SBC Division 1 had this to say about the changes, “In my experience as a basketball coach in Edinburgh for the last 11 years, including coaching at various schools in different areas of Edinburgh, I have observed how the popularity of basketball has increased considerably, with improving links between clubs and schools. With the current approach of the City of Edinburgh Council, clubs will have increasing difficulties in staying afloat financially, which will have a knock-on effect on the number of people playing sport. Furthermore, the current level of interaction between clubs and schools will be negatively impacted and there will be reduced opportunities for young people to continue playing for clubs after they have finished their education. I think Edinburgh Council should review their policies carefully and make sure they are following their principles to facilitate sport development in Edinburgh, especially for some of the more deprived areas which are heavily affected by their new policy”.
Club Chairman Aiden Gallagher added, “Heading into the 2018/19 season, our most important yet, we are faced with a huge increase in our hall hire costs which will have increased by over 100% in 2 years. Due to this, we have had to plan to reduce our programme of training for the coming season whilst also having no choice but to pass these extra costs onto our members, with some now looking at a 60% increase in their membership fees from 18 months ago. We have no doubt that this will lead to many of our current members having to leave the Lions family as they will be priced out, while also introducing a big obstacle and deterrent for many prospective members who would otherwise join our club.”
We know that we provide an extremely valuable and unique service to our members, giving the opportunity to play the sport we all love, whilst also giving them a social circle, a family to be a part of as long as they call Edinburgh their home. There should be no financial barrier stopping people from playing an accessible sport such as basketball in Edinburgh, and we implore Edinburgh Council to rethink this pricing model, which could cripple us and many other sports clubs around the city”.
What can you do to support clubs in Edinburgh?
If you would like to support our campaign, you can share our tweets about the campaign HERE. We would also encourage you to contact your local councillor or MSP to raise your concerns about the increase in prices.