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Investing in young people

'Aim you shot at the basket, not at each other' calls the HSB Academy

Gothenburg , 28 February 2017 | Social
A new leadership programme for young people in Biskopsgården and other vulnerable districts will create opportunities for a norms shift and good values. Here for a visit to the IFK Clubhouse in Gothenburg during the autumn 2016 pilot project
A new leadership programme for young people in Biskopsgården and other vulnerable districts will create opportunities for a norms shift and good values. Here for a visit to the IFK Clubhouse in Gothenburg during the autumn 2016 pilot project

Aim your shot at the basket instead of at each other. With this challenge, Västra Hisingen Basketball Club hopes to bring about a change in the attitudes of young people in Biskopsgården, Sweden. As a result of a new leadership training course - known as HSB's Academy - they hope to be able to contribute to a safer Biskopsgården.

"We are investing in the young people in the community and doing this before they join a gang and become criminals. Because then it is too late, and it is the police's job to take over" says Ali Tabrizi, founder of Västra Hisingen Basketball Club, who also grew up in Biskopsgården.

As a youngster, he was a promising basketball player. Nowadays, he knows how important a spirit of community and being part of a bigger whole are when it comes to choosing a path in life later.

"Basketball was to become a clear way out. Other young people who didn't have sport did time, some were also killed. By starting up Västra Hisingen Basketball Club, I wanted to give back some of the goods things I got from the sport. Back to the children in Biskopsgården" says Tabrizi.

At the same time, he knows that, to bring about a change, it is not enough to simply offer an activity. It needs more than that.

"Leadership and attitudes are key to how well young people will succeed in the future. It is these role models, the good ambassadors who can influence the Biskopsgården of the future to move away from being an area synonymous with gang crime to one representing safety and a spirit of community" says Tabrizi.

Together with HSB Gothenburg, Västra Hisingen Basketball Club has now developed a concept for good leadership, which has been given the name HSB Academy. It targets young people in vulnerable areas, boys and girls with natural leadership qualities and who do not necessarily regard themselves as leaders at the present time.

We choose carefully. Those selected need not be stars at school, on the contrary. The most important thing is that they have shown signs of good leadership qualities and are informal leaders. Nor do they need to be particularly interested in sports. Basketball is the platform, leadership is the tool.

The HSB Academy concept consists of three elements. The overarching element is the actual leadership program, followed by the offer of a work experience post and summer job for young people at HSB Gothenburg. At the same time, HSB Academy is also investing in creating meaningful leisure time for boys and girls between 8 and 15 years of age living in Biskopsgården.

"Basketball is awesome because both boys and girls like to play. Today, the youngsters active in the association are split 50/50. Thanks to HSB Gothenburg now coming in and investing in us, we can afford that little bit extra that the children here have such a great need for. Now they can go to the training right after school, have a snack and even get help with their homework if they want. School work is incredibly important if the children are to succeed in the future. We want to encourage and support them" says Ali Tabrizi.

For HSB Gothenburg, the investment in the young people in Biskopsgården is an important step in their sustainability work.

"HSB has been around for almost 100 years. If we are to continue to build and manage buildings for at least another 100 years, more will be required of us than is currently the case. Our objective is to reflect the business area we find ourselves in. At the moment 17% of HSB's members have a foreign background.  In the region, the figure is 23%. We need to get more involved in places where those saving up for an HSB home in the future live. For HSB this investment is a matter of our destiny. We hope to now have the opportunity here to build networks, get to know the target group, while doing our bit to create safer housing" says Lars Göran Andersson, CEO at HSB Gothenburg.

Working together to make things safer

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The pilot project commenced last autumn with ten young participants. After an intensive autumn, the first batch received their diplomas and now the management of HSB Gothenburg have decided to invest in a further two management programmes and homework help for young basketball players in Västra Hisingen Basketball Club. The HSB Academy is a clear concept produced to be extended so as to accelerate changes in attitudes and to create opportunities to encourage good values.

"We at HSB are now encouraging other companies and organisations to invest in the HSB Academy concept. One tip is to use sponsorship money that is often allocated on the basis of old habits. This money can be put to better use here. There are so many more districts in addition to Biskopsgården that the HSB Academy can be extended to. It costs so little, and you get a thousand times as much back. Our employees are proud that we are investing in young people. And, in the long term, I am convinced that we will reap great business benefits and this will also be the case for other companies getting involved" cpncludes Lars Göran Andersson


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