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Cricket charities, The Lord’s Taverners and Cricket for Change, will arrive in Basildon on Tuesday 29 March for the Essex launch of a new three-year partnership which puts cricket at the centre of the bid to build a ‘Big Society’.
‘The Lord’s Taverners Cricket for Change Programme’ will extend the game’s reach beyond schools and clubs, making it accessible to 7,500 youngsters from socially-deprived areas in 15 UK cities through a nationwide network of 150 local community groups.
Based in or around housing estates seriously affected by gangs and anti-social behaviour, ‘The Lord’s Taverners Cricket for Change Programme’ will be run by local young people who will trained and mentored to become the future coaches who will give back to their local community. Participants will play a super-short form of the game known as Street20 that is inexpensive, easy to learn and can be played almost anywhere.
The charities will train local youngsters to deliver 10 community Street20 projects that will run weekly sessions throughout the year. The sessions will be supported by Essex Cricket and community groups to combine cricket coaching with youth work. Most importantly, the programme will create a platform for young people to learn about making a positive impact in their own communities.
The Street20 teams will play in a series of County-wide competitions with the Essex winners going on to compete against other teams from across the UK to become national champions at the sport they love. The national Street20 finals will be held on 23 August in Bristol.
23-year-old former gang member and current ECB Young Coach of the Year, Adam Hall, will head up the programme. “I know from experience how getting involved with gangs can mess up your life. Cricket has helped me find a way out of trouble. I want young people from Essex with street knowledge, charisma and leadership skills to put their energies into helping run this programme so they avoid getting into gang-related nonsense. We want them to be proud of their actions and for their communities to be proud of them, too.”
Matthew Patten, is CEO of The Lord’s Taverners, the official Charity of recreational cricket and the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports Charity that helps some of society’s most disadvantaged young people. “Cricket is currently riding a wave with the national team doing brilliantly and participation in schools and clubs on the up. But many disadvantaged young people don’t have access to the social and health benefits that regular involvement in competitive team sports like cricket can bring. The Lord’s Taverners and Cricket for Change are committed to changing this and by working together we will be able to reach and achieve much more for those young people.”
Cricket for Change has spent 30 years becoming the world leader in using the game to improve the lives of disabled and socially-excluded youngsters. CEO Andy Sellins sees this partnership as a new way to engage with young people often portrayed as a ‘problem’. “We have had great success in London training young coaches to support and inspire other young people from a similar background to theirs. Our job is to tap into their energy to help them change the face of their communities. By doing this we can create a growing movement that will change the face of grassroots cricket forever.”