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arrow pointing leftBack 12 January 24 - by Ryan Booth

British Junior Open Activation Zone inspires next generation of squash fanatics

Perry the Bull at the 2024 British Junior Open
Birmingham served as a hub for inspiration and activation last week when the city opened its doors to host the prestigious British Junior Open, hosted by England Squash.

Over 670 players from 50 different nations flocked to the UK’s second city to compete at the world’s oldest junior squash tournament, but it was away from the buzz and excitement of the all-glass showcourt where the next generation were truly dazzled.

As part of a drive to engage new and diverse audiences to the sport across the region, more than 100 children from across nine different local community groups were invited to the University of Birmingham Sport to try their hand at squash.

Designed to encourage more children from diverse communities to take up squash, the England Squash Activation Zone featured a range of exciting activities, including the portable courts that were prominent across the city for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, as well as a series of interactive squash-based games.

Also joining in the fun was Perry the Bull, the official mascot of the 2022 games, who stole the show with his silky squash skills after challenging the children to a game or two.

Perry the Bull at 2024 British Junior Open.

Commenting on the event, Asma Ajaz-Ali, Community Engagement Manager at England Squash, said: “This initiative proved a fantastic opportunity for more than 100 young people across the region to pick up a racket for the first time against the backdrop of the world’s most prestigious junior squash tournament.

The children’s enthusiasm for the sport was infectious and it was encouraging to see so many enjoying a hit with their friends on the portable court.

We are thrilled that so many have shown an interest to keep playing and we’re now working alongside their community groups to create accessible opportunities for these young people to keep playing.

A big thanks to Street Games and their HAF programme for their support in bringing this initiative to fruition, and to the team at the PSA Foundation.

To learn more about the range of inclusive programmes we’ve launched to help boost participation levels across squash, visit the Club Toolkit.