Hants disability scheme scoops prize

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The ECB’s disability cricket programme received a significant boost today after it was announced that a community sport initiative aimed at Hampshire’s disability cricketers had won a major national award.

The initiative, which is sponsored by Bluebird Care and supported by the Hampshire Cricket Board, was voted the UK’s best sports project at the National Lottery Awards in London.

The Hampshire scheme received the award at a televised ceremony in London last night beating off competition from two other community sports schemes, Active Newcastle and Chase Trails Cycle Project in Staffordshire.

The Bluebird Care Disability Cricket Programme, which was launched earlier this year, provides training and competitive opportunities for people of all ages with a variety of learning, emotional and physical disabilities, and is supported by a full-time cricket development officer.

The project has enjoyed a number of key successes - more than 1,000 disabled players have been coached; more than half play in competitions in Hampshire and three disability teams represent Hampshire in national competitions.

ECB disability cricket manager Ian Martin said: “It’s terrific to get national recognition for the scheme and this award will help make even more people aware of the wider opportunities that now exist for people with disabilities to play cricket in the local area. Our thanks go to the Hampshire Cricket Board and to Bluebird Care for their support and to all those who have helped make this initiative such an outstanding success.”

The National Lottery Awards are designed to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. The awards recognise the difference that these projects make to local communities, and celebrate the achievements of the people behind them.

There are seven categories in the awards including sport, arts, education and health, each reflecting an area of Lottery funding.