School cricket to get cash boost

Thousands of young cricket lovers at school are set to benefit from the announcement of a £2 million Lottery investment by Sport England in the Cricket Foundation's Chance to Shine campaign.

Chance to Shine aims to reinvigorate cricket in state schools across the country over the next 10 years.

The programme provides high quality coaching and opportunities for young people to take part in competitive cricket in school teams. It will also forge links between schools and good cricket clubs, encouraging talented and enthusiastic youngsters to stay involved in the game and reach their potential.

Announcing news of the investment, Sport England Chair Lord Carter of Coles said that the scheme would play a crucial role in developing interest and participation in cricket among young people.

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"Boosting cricket into schools and forging links with high performing clubs is a superb way of revitalising interest in the game and of capitalising on the outstanding performances of the England men's and women's teams, particularly with the unprecedented response to the summer's dual Ashes successes,” he said

"This investment is part of our drive to get more people involved in sport and builds on the work of the ECB to boost participation and success in cricket.

“It means that thousands more children will have the opportunity to play organised, structured cricket at school, some for the first time.

“All of them will benefit from quality coaching and improved access to the sport. The scheme could also help us uncover and inspire the next Freddie Flintoff or Clare Connor.”

Sport England's £2 million investment will cover the period from November 2005 to March 2007.

Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, supported the investment, adding: "The Government is a strong supporter of the Chance to Shine initiative and this extra investment from Sport England will help the Cricket Foundation make a positive impact.

Chance to shine - Hoggard

“There's no doubt, a lifetime love of sport begins in school, and so this is the right investment. This money will go to where it has the most effect - in improving competitive cricket for youngsters in schools up and down this country, by providing coaches, training and strong school to club linked programmes.”

Welcoming the announcement, Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England and President of the Chance to Shine campaign, said: "All of us involved in Chance to Shine are delighted at this investment.

“Chance to Shine is an extremely ambitious campaign that will give opportunities to many thousands of schools. Cricket's potential to enrich the lives of young people, to reach girls as well as boys and to cross every ethnic divide is very special.

“We are assured that the money forthcoming from Sport England will be one of many contributions to the cause."