Youngsters have the chance to pick up tips on healthy living and have fun at the same time thanks to a new partnership between basketball team Cheshire Phoenix and Essar Oil UK.

The Cheshire Phoenix, since its rebirth as a community interest club in 2011, has targeted their health education programme at local schools reaching 24 schools and more than 1,000 pupils across the borough in their first year.

Now substantial financial support provided by Essar Oil UK has ensured that every Year 5 and 6 pupil in Ellesmere Port primary schools will be offered the opportunity to join in the Hoops 4 Health initiative.

The healthy living education programme involves professional players from the Phoenix using basketball as an activity to convey a range of positive health messages to primary school children.

It includes the importance of keeping physically active and promoting all aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

Essar and the Phoenix launched their partnership when the roadshow hit Elton Primary, with Year 5 and 6 pupils being introduced to players Mike DiNunno and Demond Watt, head of community and Phoenix assistant coach John Lavery and community coach Holly Burrows.

Ian Cotton, head of communications at Essar Oil, who also pitched up, said: “It’s vital children understand the importance of keeping physically active and eating healthily and the Hoops 4 Health programme is a very effective and fun way of delivering these positive health messages.

“We’re delighted to support the work that the Cheshire Phoenix players and staff will be doing in primary schools in the Ellesmere Port area.”

John Lavery added: “The pupils had a great afternoon, meeting the players, hearing the health messages and joining in with the activities. We also made sure that they had tickets to come and watch the Phoenix in action and join the ever growing band of Phoenix supporters.”

More details about the Phoenix and the Hoops 4 Health programme can be found on their website or by emailing or