Inner city cricket scheme aims to bowl over social divisions

An inner-city cricket initiative, which aims to break down barriers between young people from areas affected by anti-social behaviour and the wider community, has secured funding to allow it to run for a second year in Bristol.

Gloucestershire Cricket Board has secured funding to run the second phase of ‘StreetChance’ which is supported by Barclays Spaces for Sports, following its success in 2011.

StreetChance, a nationwide scheme launched by the English Cricket Board, enables youngsters from across Bristol to take part in inner-city ‘tapeball cricket’, a fast paced form of cricket where a tennis ball is wrapped in electrical tape and each innings lasts for 20 balls and each game, just 20 minutes.

The sessions, which are aimed at children aged between 8-18years, hope to promote mutual respect and enhance relationships with schools, police and the wider community. Each three hour session will also involve a one hour mentoring session and during school holidays national tournaments will be played against other participating cities.

As an extra incentive for children to take part in the project, Gloucestershire County Cricket Club has arranged for a special event to take place on the 6th May at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, during a 20/20 match against Netherlands.  StreetChance participants will be rewarded with free entry to the match as well as have the opportunity to take part in ‘pop-up’ coaching sessions and a lap of honour.

This year will be the second of Gloucestershire Cricket Board’s three year plan for the scheme and will focus on two projects in the north and south of the city.

Steve Silk, Cricket Development Manager at Gloucestershire Cricket Board said, “We’re delighted to have secured funding to allow StreetChance to take place again in Bristol – it will help us to continue to provide local young people with a positive outlet for their energies and the chance to play a fast, fun version of cricket in a competitive environment. We’ve seen so many young people thrive through their involvement in StreetChance and I know many Bristol youngsters will do the same, whether it’s shining on the pitch or being a great role model off it.”

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club Chief Executive, Tom Richardson said: “We are very pleased that this initiative is able to take place again in Bristol and we are proud to have the opportunity to support it. It is an excellent example of the GCB’s proactive approach of taking cricket out to the communities and engaging with new populations and young people. In this instance it is with young people that may not have had access to these kinds of opportunities before.

 “It is also a great way for youngsters in the region to get out and meet new people and do something positive. It also helps kids learn how to win and lose because sometimes they will lose and learning how they deal with this will help them in their everyday lives.”

The national StreetChance project aims to engage more than 16,000 people in cricket and social inclusion activity; training and mentoring more than 200 teachers, 250 local young coaches and volunteers, and creating more than 1600 young leaders in schools.

Bristol sessions will take place every school week at Action Indoor Sports, Whitchurch (Wednesday evenings 5-7pm for ages 8 to 14), Hengrove Leisure Centre (Friday evenings 5-7pm for ages 10 to 18) and Orchard Academy School, Horfield (Tuesdays 3.30-5.30pm for ages 10 to 18).

Future Community sessions are also planned to take place at Bristol Metropolitan Academy School, Fishponds (Wednesdays 6-8pm for ages 10 to 18) and Oasis Brightstowe Academy School, Shirehampton (Mondays 6-8pm for ages 10 to 18).

Anyone in the age bands are welcome to the sessions and for any additional information please contact Chris Munden on 07557 924941 or email [email protected]

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