The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has committed an investment of £2 million to ensure that disability cricket is accessible in every county in England and Wales. It is a key part of their pledge to make the sport more inclusive.
The scheme, which is set to be run by the Lord’s Taverners, is said to be the biggest investment ever made by a national cricket board into a disability cricket programme. By the end of this year, under this scheme, new programmes will be launched in Worcestershire, Northumberland, Devon, and Wiltshire along with an Eastern Counties project (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire) that will be in place with the aim of being active in every county by 2024. Former England captain and Lord’s Taverners President David Gower spoke glowingly about this initiative.
“This partnership is a true game-changer for the Taverners. This is the largest investment by a cricket board into a disability-specific programme and to work with the ECB is an incredible honour.”
Gower also added that the work done by the charity has helped change the lives of so many participants and that the board is very excited about the opportunity of bringing their work to young talents in every county across the country.
The partnership will also be funding the further development of table cricket, currently played in 357 schools and by over 8,800 young people across the country. The game provides an opportunity to young people with more limiting disabilities to engage in cricket, as well as develop a network of young leaders.
The idea of the programme is much more than just about playing cricket. Engagement with such a program improves physical and mental well-being, gives a sense of belonging, and allows participants to make friends and gain skills such as confidence and independence.
Nick Pryde who is the Director of Participation and Growth at the ECB, said that they are committed to making cricket as inclusive and as diverse as possible and that this partnership will be a big driving force towards that. Bringing the Super 1s to every county really will change lives. It is a fantastic way to increase accessibility and show that cricket can be a game for everyone.