Tuesday 21 July 2009 

Cricket For Change Celebrates Hilton 5-Star Support

Hilton hotelsSurrey based charity Cricket for Change has been celebrating the announcement of fresh support for a unique cricket apprenticeship programme.

The ‘Hit the Top’ cricket scheme for disabled young people has been boosted by a grant of £9,540 from Hilton in the Community Foundation. This will support the programme’s growth and development into a second year after a successful pilot scheme, which was celebrated with a graduation ceremony at the charity’s cricket centre near Wallington.

The grant has followed fundraising by hotel staff including those at the Hilton Croydon. The hotel has raised money through a number of events including a raffle, payroll giving and a sponsored fitness challenge.

Cricket For Change
Michiel Rap, Hilton Croydon Deputy General Manager and Andy Dalby-Welsh, Cricket4Change Assistant Director of programmes with a bat showing the amount raised by hotel staff.

Cricket for Change uses cricket as a vehicle to encourage opportunities for self development for disadvantaged or disabled young people. Their apprenticeship project will annually enroll 24 disabled young people from the South-East to undertake training to become cricket coaches themselves.

Andy Dalby-Welsh C4C Assistant Director of Programmes is looking forward to the second year of the new programme. He said:

“The Apprenticeship is such an exciting programme.  We have so many young people with a disability who have the potential to achieve great things in life.  This Apprenticeship will empower them to realize their potential and enable them to become great role models to their peers and the wider society.”

The course will assist the young people to gain recognised coaching qualifications and transferable vocational skills and will involve working with a mentor to enhance the chances of success. It is hoped that the apprenticeship programme will create qualified young sporting role models with a disability.

 Hilton Croydon will be backing the project and will be aiming to assist with the vocational skills side of the course where possible. The hotel is also keen to explore other opportunities to work together with the charity to use cricket as a positive force in the local community.

Simon Sheehan, Director Hilton in the Community Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support this course and really feel that it will have a hugely profound benefit for young people with a disability. The programme will not only provide a supportive environment for self-development but will help those on it to gain valuable vocational skills which will certainly help employment prospects. Giving young people the opportunities and education to show their talent is always the best way to support them and, in turn, our community Hopefully next year’s graduates will be the role models of the future!”

Some of the Hilton Croydon and Hilton in the Community Foundation staff joined a “friends and funders” cricket game yesterday at the charity’s cricket centre. The day was also designed to celebrate the graduation of the first year’s apprentices on the programme.

One of last year’s graduates, 19 year old Amar said:

“Learning to become a coach is a magnificent experience.  I enjoy it and I have learnt so much from project. Getting kids with disabilities involved is brilliant, you give them the chance to establish themselves by giving them hope and belief. Personally, when I become a qualified coach I’m going to pass on my knowledge and experience, something that I never got, which I always wanted.”