Wicketz is a community cricket programme. Launched in 2012, the programme aims to establish sustainable cricket environments in areas of high deprivation, providing young people from those areas with the chance to engage in regular sport.
Whilst cricket is the initial engagement tool, the primary focus of the programme is to improve the lives of young people. This is done through providing positive role models (Wicketz coaches, and older participants, who are upskilled as coaches), and the delivery of workshops from local and national organisations, on topics specifically targeted at local issues, including healthy living, gang and knife violence, rail safety and hate crime.
The first Wicketz project was established in east London in 2012, with the first projects outside of the capital launching in early 2016 in Luton & Hartlepool. Since then, the programme has expanded to Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Crawley, Bristol, Plymouth and Manchester. By the end of 2017 the programme will have also been launched in Leeds/Bradford and Glasgow.
By creating sustainable cricket environments, through forming partnerships with local businesses and sponsors, as well as engaging volunteers, Wicketz will leave a legacy of making cricket accessible to young people who would not otherwise have been able to engage in the sport.
For more details about the programme please contact Mark Bond on 020 7025 0020, or via email.
Abdus Salaam, 17, is the assistant coach for the Luton Wicketz project. He first got involved with the project in the summer of 2016, and quickly became a leader and positive role model for the younger players. Abdus witnessed domestic violence in his early life which led to severe anger management issues and the temptation to take what he describes as a ‘bad path’.
He was introduced to sport, initially as a way to overcome this and has learned not only to manage his own emotions but also to diffuse arguments between others with sensitivity and maturity. Being part of the Wicketz programme has seen him not only improve as a player, but also a coach and mentor – encouraging his peers to join him on the cricket pitch rather than follow a path of anti-social behaviour. Abdus won the 2016 Wicketz residential festival ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award and the ‘Judges Choice’ award at the 2016 Sporting Chance Awards.