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Youth faith pathway a slam dunk for basketball-mad Townsville

Youth faith pathway a slam dunk for basketball-mad Townsville

Youth faith pathway a slam dunk for basketball-mad Townsville

23 March 2021

Townsville Faithworks Corps is praying that its new half-court basketball facility will score well as part of its Local Mission Delivery.

By Darryl Whitecross

Carpark to court: The journey to install the new half-court basketball facility at Faithworks, Townsville.

Faithworks Corps in Townsville has begun using its long-awaited half-court basketball facility.

Corps Officer Captain Perry Lithgow said when Faithworks was established on the Madden Street site 15 years ago, the vision was to have the back car park double as a basketball court as a way of better engaging with the youth of the community.

“Finally, that dream is starting to be realised,” Perry said at the start of the project. “So exciting!” the corps Facebook page proclaimed.

Perry said the corps did not expect it to take more than 12 months to get the facility completed but there were several ‘fouls’ along the way, none the least being restrictions and lockdowns around the global COVID-19 pandemic.

High fences were up around the area for some time and all young people could do was peer through those fences and dream of what was to come.

The corps used Red Shield Appeal funds for the project. Perry said SAGALA and the youth group from the corps had used a relocatable basketball hoop and backboard structure while waiting for the permanent court.

He said the corps did not cut corners to ensure “a quality job” with a proper surface laid and “grip finish” for all-weather play. “Now, you’ll be able to play half-court basketball against your mates. Even if you’re shooting hoops [you’ll] know you’re shooting from the right place.”

Perry said the corps had a long-term strategy to reach the youth of the city through basketball.

Townsville’s strong culture of basketball was a catalyst. The city is the home to the Townsville Fire Women’s National Basketball League team and was once home to the National Basketball League team, Townsville Crocodiles.

Perry said Townsville also had a significant youth crime rate and it was hoped the corps could play a “small part” in changing the lives of some of those troubled young people.

“One of the objectives we have, from a corps point of view, is to look at how we can be a positive influence in the youth space in Townsville,” Perry said. “Being a bit more of a serious and permanent installation, that’ll probably attract a few more people in to connect with it,” he said.

The court is accessible to the public and, even before it was constructed, young people not associated with the corps were using the previous facilities.

Perry said as well as being a fun facility, the corps was looking at several options of how it could be incorporated into its Local Mission Delivery planning and create opportunities for faith conversations.

Faith pathways

He said there were a few options including either being a training venue for teams in competitions around the city, the corps entering its own team in a competition or connecting with other Army teams.

“It’s an opportunity to connect with kids. By doing that, hopefully, it creates a positive culture. It’s a long-term investment into ways to connect with youth,” Perry said.


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