Young people will now be able to play accessible cricket after the announcement of a new partnership between Chance to Shine and Lycamobile.
Lycamobile is the world’s biggest international mobile virtual network operator, and during an event at The Oval it announced it's sponsorship of the youth element of ‘Chance to Shine Street’, the cricket charity’s community programme (previously StreetChance).
Chance to Shine is a celebrated and multi award-winning scheme and has helped thousands of youngsters living in city areas lacking green spaces to access cricket.
The Chance to Shine Street Youth programme is:
- Free to take part in
- Made up of weekly sessions in the evenings and weekends, all year round
- Held at community venues, such as leisure centres, sports halls and caged areas around housing estates and parks
- Aimed at eight to 15 year-olds
- Based on an exciting six-a-side format using a tape-ball – a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape
- Inclusive and accessible with little equipment required and everyone getting a chance to bat, bowl and field
England and Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara helped to launch the new partnership between Lycamobile and Chance to Shine at the Kia Oval.
Speaking at the event, Bopara said: “Chance to Shine Street can help massively by giving kids access to somewhere to play cricket.
"They just want a place to play cricket, they don’t care how it’s done and sometimes those kids don’t have the opportunity in inner-cities. Tapeball cricket is so simple: get a tennis ball, tape it up, let’s play cricket. It speeds up the game, it’s exciting and I used to love it as a kid.
“It’s brilliant from Lycamobile to back the street programme, it’s very kind and I’m sure they’ll benefit from the partnership.”
The Lycamobile agreement follows the launch in January of Chance to Shine’s ‘Second Innings’ appeal in January 2015. The charity is aiming to raise £25 million in order to reach at least one million more young people in schools and communities around the country by 2020.
Chief executive of Chance to Shine, Luke Swanson, said: “Chance to Shine Street is fast-paced, hard-hitting, loud, fun and open to anyone. It has a proven record of attracting young people, supporting their development and keeping them engaged in the game.
"This partnership builds on Lycamobile’s commitment both to cricket and to connecting communities: together we can further broaden the reach of the game, bringing its benefits to many more young people in some of our most deprived communities.”
Subaskaran Allirajah, Chairman of Lycamobile said: “We have always had strong ties to cricket with our sponsorship of Surrey County Cricket Club and UK Test Match Grounds, so to support Chance to Shine and their ‘Street’ programme is a perfect synergy for us.
"Lycamobile’s mission is to keep communities connected wherever they are in the world which is at the core of the Chance to Shine work - something we are very proud to be associated with.”
Youth projects currently run nationally in eight key areas: Birmingham, Bristol, Dewsbury, Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Manchester. The charity identified towns and cities that lacked cricket provision and areas within them that were socially deprived or had high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Chance to Shine Street is more than just cricket. The Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University has evaluated the impact of the programme on young people.
They highlighted the increase in transferrable ‘soft’ skills among participants who developed confidence, tolerance and co-operation. This improved their academic results and made them better equipped for employment.
Ahwais Khan, 16, from Saltley in Birmingham is one of many examples of individuals who have benefited from the programme. Ahwais was a handful for his teachers, disturbing lessons and mixing with the wrong crowd.
Since he started on the Street programme his behaviour has improved and so has his grades. He has now moved away from his old circle of friends. “Now I see them hanging around on the streets,“ says Ahwais, “Some have got in trouble with the police for knife crime. That would definitely be me if I hadn’t got involved in the Street programme.”
Research by the New Philanthropy Capital think-tank last year found that the Street cricket programme is successfully providing ‘diversionary’ activities for ‘a small but significant’ group of children at risk of committing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is also providing ‘safe havens’ for the rest of the participants in some of the most socially disadvantaged areas of the country.
Chance to Shine Street has reached nearly 40,000 young people since 2008 and, working closely with local county cricket boards, will bring cricket to a further 3,000 participants in 2015.
The charity has made a two-year funding commitment to existing Street projects up until September 2017. Chance to Shine also runs Young Adults Street cricket competitions for 16 to 24 year olds following a National Lottery grant from Sport England in 2012. The charity won ‘The Play Award’ at the Children & Young People Now Awards in 2012.
To find out more about Chance to Shine Street, visit chancetoshine.org/street
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