Sussex Cricket Foundation participation numbers have soared from 12,000 children and young people receiving coaching in 2014/15 to a dramatic increase of over 16,000 in the 2015/16 academic year.
This news comes just as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is doubling its investment in primary schools in a new deal with the Chance to Shine charity. From October 2017 at least £2.5m will be donated annually in an arrangement the charity describes as a "game changer".
Chance to Shine funding in Sussex focuses on delivering inclusive cricket opportunities to children of all abilities, ages, genders and ethnicities throughout the county. Whilst creating pathways to local cricket clubs, the funding is also used to deliver Street Cricket within communities where cricket isn’t as accessible for various reasons.
Steve Feazey, Schools and Community Participation Manager, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to have such a huge influence on over 4,000 children and young people experiencing cricket during the 2015/2016 academic year. The investment from ECB will allow our school and community programmes to go from strength to strength, providing more opportunities to create a passion for cricket in the heart of every community throughout Sussex.”
This new investment granted by the ECB – combined with continued support from commercial sponsors, private individuals, charitable trusts and foundations – means Chance to Shine is aiming to expand its annual reach from approximately 300,000 primary school children to more than 500,000 nationally from the school year 2017/18.
Professional cricket coaches funded by the charity will introduce the game to some two million children directly over the next four years, with Chance to Shine reaching many more indirectly through a new package of support for school teachers.
Chief Executive of Sussex Cricket, Zac Toumazi, embraced the news from ECB by saying: "The ECB investment is most welcome. We believe that this will make a significant and positive difference to young people in Sussex. We look forward to working with Chance to Shine and the ECB on this exciting and welcome development.”
The ECB believes that viewing habits are changing and they want to reflect the way young people engage with media. But investing money into participation is increasingly significant.
In addition to the increased funding, ECB will also provide the charity with opportunities to capitalise on international events, game day experiences, digital resources and player appearances including the ongoing partnership with the England Women’s cricket team.
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