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Cashback basketball success
A dozen youngsters that took up basketball through coaching funded by the Scottish Government's CashBack for Communities programme have been selected for age-group Scotland squads.
The nine boys and three girls will link up with the international under 12, under 14 and under 16 teams after participating in the Jump2it and Twilight Basketball sessions run by Scottish Sports Futures and funded by money seized from criminals.
These programmes - funded through CashBack for the past three years - have seen 2,272 youngsters take up the sport. With help from Basketball Scotland - also funded through CashBack - hundreds of youngsters have now gone on to forge links with local clubs.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said this latest achievement demonstrates the increasing success of CashBack in putting young people on a positive path in life. Other young people taking part in the hundreds of activities now funded by CashBack have gone on to get coaching accreditations; volunteer and gain employment opportunities after being introduced to an activity through CashBack.
The emerging basketball stars - Jacob Kuriakos, Jason Carr, Sean L Nealson, Ben Clark, Ethan Sutherland, Fraser McMillan, Owen Hope, Anna Sneddon, Catriona Russell, Chelsea O'Neil, Ali McDermid and Taha Cetinkaya - will meet Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on Saturday at a Young Starz training camp run by basketballScotland in Stirling.
"Our hugely successful CashBack programme is all about broadening young people's horizons and putting them on a positive path in life using money seized from crooks.
"That is why it is so exciting to see youngsters who began playing the sport through the Jump2it and Twilight Basketball programmes, progressing through local clubs to national squads. I am delighted for each of them, and hope they can act as a positive example to the hundreds of thousands of young people already taking part in CashBack activities.
"So far, we have invested more than £40 million confiscated from criminals in this scheme, and with the police and prosecuting authorities making more and more seizures, this investment will continue."
Ian Reid, chief executive of Scottish Sports Futures said:
"This is a fantastic outcome for our charity. We are delighted with our partnership work with basketballScotland and it's great to see some youngsters who started off playing basketball through our Jump2it health programme get the opportunity to take up the sport at performance level.
"This would not have been possible without the CashBack initiative and it shows the money invested in the community does actually make a difference. We wish our young stars all the best and know that they will become great ambassadors for our programmes."
Kevin Pringle, CEO of basketballScotland said:
"basketballScotland are excited to host the inaugural Future Starz Camp, as part of our Summer Slam programme. Through strong partnership working with Scottish Sports Futures, talented player who were first exposed to the game by the Jump2it programme will get the opportunity to learn from top-class coaches and to meet Senior Scotland International players.
"CashBack for Communities funding has made it possible for these children to be here and we hope that the experience will inspire these young athletes to work hard and engage in lifelong participation in our sport, for the benefit of communities throughout Scotland."
CashBack is a programme of free diversionary activities for young Scots (aged 10-19) funded by money taken from the proceeds of crime. Since its launch in 2007, more than £40 million has been reinvested back into communities in Scotland through sporting, cultural, youth and third sector organisations. More than half a million young people have benefitted.