Inner-city cricket heroes recognised at Chance To Shine Street awards

Inner-city cricket heroes from participants to coaches and volunteers were recognised for their contributions at the inaugural Chance To Shine Street awards at The Kia Oval last week.

Sky presenter Sarah-Jane Mee hosted the awards, supported by Lycamobile, to celebrate those who have worked on the programme.

Special guests in attendance included England's Samit Patel, Surrey's Arun Harinath and former England stars Mike Gatting and Devon Malcolm.

The award winners in full

Outstanding Coach: Rehaan Rather

Outstanding Junior Participant: Vineet Singh

Outstanding Senior Participant: Bhoumik Premji

Outstanding Female Participant: Chantelle McKenzie

Outstanding Young Adult Participant: Vijal Vinay

Outstanding Young Leader: Harry King

Outstanding Moment: Ismail Aziz

Outstanding Volunteer: Mira Patel

Lycamobile Special Recognition: Kay Arnold, Hajarah Chaudhry, Safia Salim, Kiran Bhangu

Outstanding Youth Project: Sparkhill - Birmingham

Outstanding Young Adults Project: Cossington - Leicester

Before the awards ceremony got underway, Chance To Shine Street participants from Birmingham, London and Manchester joined Harunath and Patel for a street cricket competition.

Chance To Shine Street was launched in 2008 to bring cricket to young people in urban areas where there are few green spaces and fewer traditional cricket clubs.

It also uses the game to promote social cohesion and connect young people from different backgrounds in diverse communities.

The charity also has the support of Sport England, which has backed the national Chance To Shine Street Young Adults league for those aged between 16 and 24 while Lycamobile sponsors the youth element of the programme for participants between 8 and 15.

The outstanding coach of the year award went to Rehaan Rather from Manchester, who has been involved in the project since 2011, starting the first two projects in the city, now overseeing four youth projects, five young adult projects and an indoor league with more than 20 teams.

"It makes me so proud and makes me want to do more," he said.

"I’m sure there are more children out there and I’d love to get them involved in the programme.

"We work in a lot of areas and getting one more child through the door and getting them to enjoy cricket is making a difference."

The Lycamobile Special Recognition Award was given jointly to Hajarah Chaudhry, Safia Salim and Kiran Bhangu from West London. The judging panel recognised their importance to the success of their project since launching two summers ago, firstly by recruiting more girls and now as leaders among the group providing support for their coach.

Bhangu said: "It’s not hard work for us and we have such a love for the game.

"I’m enjoying myself every week at the session and I look forward to it. It’s giving our love for the game to the younger generation."

MIra Patel was named as the Outstanding Volunteer for the work she has done in Leicester. She has developed a relationship with the girls in her project, with the coach at her session saying that having a positive female role model has been vital.

She has developed as a coach through her volunteering, become more confident in passing on her knowledge, helping the girls at her Street session to enjoy their cricket as well as improve their skills.

"It feels amazing to win," she said. "The girls deserve it more than me. They make me enjoy the sessions and make me want to come back.

"I was really happy and shocked when I heard I’d won - I’ve never won anything before. It means everything to me to win this award."

Ismail Aziz was recognised with the Outstanding Moment award after bowling out England batsman Moeen Ali during the latter's visit to the Sparkhill project earlier this year.

"It’s very good to be here," he said. "I was overwhelmed with excitement, I couldn’t believe it and I’m so happy that Street gave me this opportunity to be here and to bowl out Moeen Ali!

"It’s amazing because this is the first time I’ve been acknowledged for my achievements."

Samit Patel added his voice to those supporting the work of Chance To Shine Street.

"It’s great to give the children from the street this opportunity," he said.

"I kept going and kept playing as a youngster and it shows that if you keep working hard you never know what could happen. That’s what I told them today."

Chris Tooley, Chief Executive at Lycamobile, added: "Congratulations to all of the winners tonight. It’s inspiring to hear about the difference cricket is making to so many young lives.

"We are very proud to support the programme. Lycamobile and Chance to Shine share the same audience and we have a passion for connecting families and friends around the world."

Chance to Shine Chief Executive, Luke Swanson, said: "Tonight is a way of congratulating the behind-the-scenes heroes on their achievements on our Street programme and thanking them for everything they do.

"Chance to Shine Street is played with real passion, spirit and skill, and the impact goes way beyond the sport itself. This is cricket as a vehicle for developing life skills and bringing communities together."

Find out more about the award winners by watching the playlist of videos below:

© Cricket World 2015