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Rainford-Brent's pioneering programme set to launch in Notts

Rainford-Brent's pioneering programme set to launch in Notts
Rainford-Brent's pioneering programme set to launch in Notts

Cricket’s African Caribbean Engagement Programme (ACE), established by Ebony Rainford-Brent and having already achieved success in London, Birmingham and Bristol, is set to rollout in Nottingham.

The initiative, which provides tailored environments for the development of cricketers from Black communities, will be inaugurated in Notts in 2022, after a funding model was agreed between ACE, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the county club.

Over 2,500 young local cricketers are expected to pass through ACE’s Talent ID programme each year with thousands of Nottinghamshire children due to participate in ACE school schemes annually, with sessions due to launch in both primary and secondary schools.

Former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent, now a commentator for Sky Sports and the BBC, is Chair of the ACE Programme which was originally setup by Surrey CCC in 2019 before becoming an independent charity the following year after receiving £540,000 in funding from Sport England. ACE then formed a partnership with Royal London, allowing it to launch in Bristol.

That financial support has allowed ACE to so far engage over 6,000 young cricketers in London, Bristol and Birmingham, as well as handing out over 200 trials, which have led to a total of 109 scholarships for talented young players in the ACE National Academy.

“I’m so excited that ACE is going to be launching in Nottinghamshire. This area has been a major target for us from the beginning due to its strong connections to the Black British community,” said Rainford-Brent.

“ACE is focused on connecting the dots to help under-represented groups from the grassroots to the elite. We know this programme will help open up new pathways to do exactly that and are excited to partner with the team at Nottinghamshire to have an impact.

“We’re really grateful to the ECB for this meaningful support, allowing us to build on our initial backing from Sport England and start taking ACE to the next level – a truly national organisation.”

Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell said: “ACE has been a great success already in other locations and we feel hugely fortunate that Nottinghamshire can also now get to see some of that impact.

“We know that the make-up of our communities in and around the city provides tremendous scope and opportunities for the scheme to be successful.

“We are very much looking forward to working in partnership with ACE and to seeing the outcomes starting to develop over the next couple of years.”

Clare Connor, Managing Director of England Women’s Cricket, added: “The team at ACE are doing brilliant work creating opportunities for young people from Black communities to play cricket and develop their talent.

“After their early impact in south London, Bristol and Birmingham, we are really excited to be helping ACE to increase access to cricket in Nottingham and other urban centres across the country.

“We know that targeted opportunities and support are vitally important in making cricket a game for everyone and ensuring that every young cricketer can fulfil their potential.”