On Wednesday 23rd Sept. 2009, the new Cricket for Change Indoor School based at the Cricket Centre on Plough Lane in Wallington was officially opened.
The event was attended by Cricket for Change Vice-President and former England Fast Bowler, Devon Malcolm; former Ashes winning England Captain, Mike Gatting and current England Women's cricketer, Ebony Rainford-Brent (a past student of the Cricket for Change programmes).
Vice President, Devon, noted, "It was a great pleasure to have been involved with the official opening of this superb indoor cricket facility. I am sure it will be utilised to the max".
The official opening was performed by Tom Rodwell, Chief Executive of Cricket for Change, John Hooper, Chairman of The Lord's Taverners and David Golton, Chief Executive of The London Marathon Charitable Trust.
This was followed by the first official net session which included some young, talented and inspiring cricketers from the Hackney Community College and players from the England and Wales Blind Cricket Team.
Tom Rodwell, said, "The opening of the Indoor School completes the 10 year dream of making Plough Lane into a year round facility. Over that period, Cricket for Change has invested over £1m to transform a once derelict playing field into a state of the art Cricket Centre."
John Hooper CBE, Chairman of The Lord’s Taverners, said: “The Lord’s Taverners believes that sport and recreation are essential for all young people. This new indoor school, for which The Lord’s Taverners provided initial funding, offers excellent facilities for young people of all abilities to enjoy cricket and develop vital physical and social skills. This bold initiative means that many more disadvantaged and differently abled children will have access to a top-class training facility all the round. The vision of Cricket for Change and its commitment and determination in bringing it to fruition are greatly to be commended.“
David Golton, of London Marathon Charitable Trust (LMCT), noted, "The LMCT is delighted to be associated with the new indoor cricket school at Plough Lane. The Trust's work is primarily aimed at encouraging more people in the community, both able bodied and the less able, to take part in active sport and this new facility provides the ideal opportunity to support the valuable work of Cricket for Change."
The day was rounded off with a T20 match between a 'Croydon's Finest XI' and a 'No Won Famous XI'. The match was officially started with an over from Devon Malcolm and eventually won by 'Croydon's Finest' (Captained by Norman Pearce of Croydon Business Venture).
A special thank you must go to Viridor Credits, The Lord's Taverners, The London Marathon Charitable Trust, The ClothMakers Company, Paul Wickham, Croydon Economic Development Company, Blue Sky Developments, Natwest, Barclays, Norman Pearce and Karen Day who all made this fantastic new facility become a reality and the opening a great success.