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CricketForce Community award

Natwest Cricketforce Hollis Award

NatWest CricketForce has won the prestigious 'Sport England Community Programme Award' at the Sports Industry Awards 2006.

This England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) initiative, sponsored by NatWest, has now become the biggest annual volunteer event in sport by bringing together players, clubs and their local community to rejuvenate the nation's cricketing facilities.

Regarded as the 'Oscars of the sports world', the annual Sports Industry Awards recognise and reward the very best in the sport business industry, judged by the leading figures of the industry under the chair of BBC Sports Presenter, John Inverdale.

Helen Page, Marketing Director, NatWest, commented: "We are absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious Sports Industry Award, following our success at the recent Hollis Sponsorship Awards.

"NatWest CricketForce is yet another testament to our commitment to the community. The local cricket club is the backbone of cricket in this country, and with the help of players, clubs and volunteers, including lots of our staff, they have benefited from millions of pounds worth of improvements thanks to NatWest CricketForce."

Participation in NatWest CricketForce has rocketed since its launch in 2002, when just one showcase club took part.

This year, over 1,050 cricket clubs took part, a 54 per cent increase on last year, attracting enough volunteers to fill the Millennium Stadium (70,000).

NatWest also encouraged branch staff to get involved with activity at their own local cricket club. By giving up their personal time, NatWest staff could also receive up to £500 for their local club as part of NatWest's Community Cashback Award Scheme.

David Collier, ECB Chief Executive, said: "NatWest CricketForce 2005 was one of the major successes in a summer of triumphs for English cricket.

“The ECB is proud that cricket leads the way amongst UK sports in acknowledging the crucial role that volunteers play in maintaining their clubs throughout the year and we are delighted that NatWest were again the partners for this year's event."