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by John Pennington Monday 26 January 2015
The Lord's Taverners has outlined plans to expand its community cricket programmes to take the game to young people in socially-deprived areas of the UK and those with disabilities.
They plan to use cricket to improve the lives of some of the most marginalised and at-risk people in the UK, adding to the £20 million they have already invested in supporting clubs and schools since 1950.
Following up its own research which has identified the 20 most disadvantaged areas of the UK, the Lord's Taverners is expanding its Wicketz programme to create sustainable community cricket clubs in those communities where multiple deprivation and anti-social behaviour are prevalent.
They are also expanding their disability cricket programme. There are 800,000 disabled children in the UK - that's six per cent of all children - and they are half as likely to take part in sport due to lack of access to appropriate equipment, facilities and coaching.
The Lord's Taverners aim to give even more disabled children the chance to enjoy the game.
Wickets provides a package of community sport which includes coaching sessions, equipment, non-turf pitches, festivals and local competitions.
During a two-year pilot in London new cricket clubs were established in six income-deprived boroughs, benefiting 2,000 young people. Now, Wicketz will be expanded to support young people in Hartlepool and Luton in 2015 with more expansion on the cards in 2016.
The Lord's Taverners will equip communities in those areas with high-quality kit donated by manufacturers, clubs and members of the public via its kit recycling programme as it continues to give more opportunities to girls to play cricket.
And the charity is putting its full support behind the England and Wales Cricket Board's efforts to increase the number of disabled people regularly playing cricket across the 39 County Cricket Boards by providing robust impact reporting, supplying specially-adapted equipment and creating a range of interactive resources.
Mike Gatting, Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships at the ECB, said: "We thank the Lord’s Taverners for providing kit to the much needed areas of the UK that would otherwise not have had the opportunity to play cricket.
"Who knows, maybe by the 2019 World Cup, we may see someone who has benefited from these resources playing for England."Paul Robin, Chief Executive of the Lord’s Taverners, added: "The start of a new year is a perfect way to highlight the charity’s evolving objectives as we understand where and how we can make the greatest difference.
"I am delighted that through cricket the Lord’s Taverners will give even more young people sporting chances in 2015."
© Cricket World 2015