Taking cricket to UK’s most marginalised young people
With three weeks to go before the 2015 Cricket World Cup begins, leading youth cricket and disability sports charity the Lord’s Taverners has outlined plans to use cricket to help improve the lives of some of the most marginalised and at-risk young people in the UK.
Having invested over £20 million in grants to support clubs and schools with cricket kit, facilities and competitions since 1950, the Lord’s Taverners is refocusing its cricket giving from grant provision to expansion of its community cricket programmes, targeting young people in socially-deprived areas of the UK and those with disabilities.
Research commissioned by the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity has identified the 20 most disadvantaged areas of the UK, based on indices of multiple deprivation, anti-social behaviour, pupil attainment and engagement in sport. The Lord’s Taverners is expanding its Wicketz programme to create sustainable community cricket clubs in these communities.
With 800,000 disabled children in the UK (6% of all children) and young people with disabilities half as likely to take part in sport due to lack of access to appropriate equipment, facilities and coaching, the charity is also expanding its disability cricket programmes to give even more young people with disabilities the chance to enjoy the game.
Wicketz provides a package of community support including coaching sessions, equipment, non-turf pitches, festivals and local competitions. Following a successful two-year pilot in London, where new cricket clubs have been established in six income-deprived boroughs to the benefit of 2,000 young people, Wicketz will be expanded to support young people in Hartlepool and Luton in 2015, with further expansion planned for 2016. The Lord’s Taverners will equip communities in these targeted areas with high-quality kit donated by manufacturers, clubs and members of the public through its kit recycling programme, while continuing to provide more opportunities for girls to play cricket.
The Lord’s Taverners is also supporting the ECB’s efforts to increase the number of disabled people regularly playing cricket across the 39 County Cricket Boards. The charity is providing robust impact reporting, supplying specially-adapted equipment and creating a range of interactive resources to aid coaches working within the disability sector. The charity’s national table cricket competition continues to provide opportunities for thousands of young people with physical disabilities to play an adapted format of cricket, while its Disability Cricket Championships - launched in 2014 - provides young people with physical and learning disabilities with access to regular coaching and competition.
Mike Gatting, ECB’s Managing Director – Cricket Partnerships, said: “This is excellent news for everyone involved in our recreational game. The Lord’s Taverners does a fantastic job in promoting cricket to all sections of the community and we particularly welcome its support for ECB’s plans to widen access to the sport in our major cities and expand the provision of disability cricket nationwide.”
Paul Robin, Chief Executive of the Lord’s Taverners, said: “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.”
For more information about our charitable programmes please contact Ana Hickey on 020 7025 0021.