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CVA partners with Greenhouse Sport

Chloe Witherden / Categories: General

CVA partners with Greenhouse Sport

Castle View Academy has partnered with Greenhouse Sport, a charity supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, to deliver a full-time table tennis coach and mentor to pupils from the areas of Paulsgrove, Cosham, Portchester and Port Solent. 


On its 20th Anniversary year, Greenhouse Sports celebrates 20 years of working with more than 50,000 children, keeping them engaged in education and helping them achieve better results, better jobs and a better future. The charity partners with schools to embed full-time coaches who become trusted mentors and inspire the children to aim higher. School children supported by a Greenhouse Sports Coach are on average likely to attend more than 5 days of school a year than those not on Greenhouse programmes. 


As Greenhouse Sports now marks its first national expansion outside of London, the vision is simple: currently 4 million children are living in disadvantaged areas across the UK. These children are missing out on opportunities and the charity’s model has proven there is a way to level up their life chances.


Dedicated table tennis coach and Portsmouth native 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. 


Jason Sugrue, Head of Coaching at Greenhouse Sports says: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Castle View Academy in Portsmouth to deliver our sports coaching programme. We want more kids to benefit from our programme, we want to support more young people to engage in sport, and we want to help them gain the life skills they need.” 


“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.


Christian Down, Principal at Castle View Academy says: “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.”


Portsmouth native Ashley Willetts was born and spent his childhood and education in Portsmouth. Ashley has been a Greenhouse Sports Coach since 2011 and was formerly the Greenhouse Sports Table Tennis Coach at Rokeby School in East London. Ashley was the county champion of table tennis in Hampshire and has competed at the Senior British League Premier Division. 


Ashley Willetts comments: “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.” 


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.”

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