Wicketz starts 2018 with a bang!
The new year has started with the launch of two Wicketz hubs in Yorkshire and Worcestershire/Warwickshire, continuing the significant expansion seen in 2017.
Nunnery Wood Sports Complex is the host for the fourth hub in Worcestershire/Warwickshire, and the first in Worcester itself, following the success of the projects in Dudley, Redditch and Birmingham. The first session at this new hub was held last Friday, 5 January, with 23 children aged 8-16 taking part, and these will be continually held weekly from 6-7pm.
Harry Kitchen, Wicketz Development Officer (DO) for Worcestershire, said: “It was an amazing turnout, we couldn’t have asked for a better start to a project we thought would flourish in Worcester. I’m hoping to get more kids involved as we go along. I would like to thank all the volunteers and coaches who helped and we can’t wait for next week.”
Worcester Deputy Mayor, Jabba Riaz, who helped promote the availability of free cricket coaching in his local community, added: “There has been number of programmes initiated over the years to improve the sporting ambitions of children in Worcester but none that has been running continuously. Hopefully Wicketz will bring a new dimension and the longevity.”
In Yorkshire, following a successful launch event in December to assess what the community needed and to raise interest in the hub, the first coaching session was also held last Friday. A brilliant turn out of 30 children aged 8-11, including both boys and girls, attended the session at the Karmand Community Centre in East Bradford. After an introductory session, in which a number of parents stayed to take part, a big game of pavilion cricket was played, which ended in a tie! This is the first hub to start in Yorkshire, and comes on the back of the national expansion of the Wicketz programme, and the appointment of a full time Wicketz DO for Yorkshire.
Ben Fraser, who has taken that role, said: “We had a brilliant turnout with 30 young people coming down for the first session for primary school children. Hopefully it will inspire them to keep coming and to play cricket as they get older. We had a good mix between children who have played cricket and ones that have never played, but everyone has enjoyed it.”
Using cricket as a tool for change, Wicketz is aimed at hard-to-reach youngsters within areas of high deprivation across the UK, by engaging young people who live in communities where there are few opportunities to play the game regularly. The Lord’s Taverners now successfully deliver the programme in Birmingham, Bradford/Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow, Leyton, Manchester, Plymouth, Crawley, Hartlepool, Luton, Nottingham, Tower Hamlets and West Ham.