Bluebird Care Hampshire Disability Cricket Programme, run by the Hampshire Cricket Board, has been named as a finalist in the Best Sport Project category of The National Lottery Awards 2011. The Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects and recognise the difference that these organisations – both big and small – make to local communities.
The cricket programme is one of three finalists which have been shortlisted, by an expert panel, for the big difference they’ve made with Lottery money. The project promotes disability cricket in a wide range of areas, from encouraging disabled people to play the game, encouraging them to become coaches, offering coaching to those at a high standard and working with cricket clubs advocating the inclusion of disabled cricket within them.
For disabled people who want to emulate their cricketing heroes, finding a club to play for can be difficult. But thanks to the Hampshire Cricket Board’s Disability Cricket Project more people are starting to play this popular summer game. But the project is far more wide-ranging than simply getting people to play and this year’s focus is on inclusion. Where the majority of mainstream clubs sit apart from disabled cricket, the key is to work with them and promote the inclusion of disabled cricketers within mainstream clubs. “It’s easy for us to get into schools and give the kids a taster of playing the game,” says Greig. “But the key is to get them to continue playing and that’s where the clubs come in. We’ve had success with a few clubs and we hit a wider audience with our Disability Awareness session during a recent development programme for cricket coaches. We need to create something sustainable with them.”
Bluebird Care Hampshire Disability Cricket Programme is up against two other finalists in the Best Sport Project category, Active Newcastle and the Chase Trails Cycle Project in Staffordshire.
This year’s National Lottery Awards are supported by television presenter Julia Bradbury. She says: “It’s brilliant to see such an inspiring range of Lottery-funded projects - large and small - make it through to final stage of The National Lottery Awards. Lottery players raise £28 million a week for Good Causes and all of the finalists have shown how they’ve used their Lottery funding to make a real difference in their communities. Anyone that has ever played the Lottery should feel very proud to know their money has helped support fantastic projects such as these.”
There are seven categories in the Awards, which reflect the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health (in association with ivillage.co.uk), environment, education (in association with Best magazine) and voluntary/charity. There will be one winner in each category which will be decided by a final round of public voting in the autumn. The winning project in each of the categories will receive national recognition at a star-studded event later this year, broadcast on BBC One, as well as a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project. For more information on the Awards finalists visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards