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Cricket gives kids Chance to shine

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Chance to shine - Strauss Hoggard Kids

England's Matthew Hoggard and Andrew Strauss join in some impromptu practice at the launch of Chance to shine

Bethnal Green Technology College in London was the location for the launch of the Chance to shine campaign aimed at rejuvenation of cricket in state schools in England and Wales.

Driven by the desire to enhance the education of young people through cricket, Chance to Shine seeks to raise £50 million from both public and private funds and is run by the Cricket Foundation, the charitable arm of the ECB.

The scheme's aim is to regenerate competitive cricket in a third of state schools by 2015, providing high-quality, sustainable cricket programmes based upon continuous coaching, skills awards and competition.

In addition, there will be coach and teacher training initiatives, the provision of much-needed facilities and equipment, as well as school holiday activities.

The ambitious scheme launched by the Cricket Foundation has already received a boost with over £4m being pledged. This has arisen through Allianz Cornhill's committing as the first Official Commercial Partner, The Lord's Taverners becoming an Official Special Partner and Sir Tim Rice accepting the captaincy of The Patrons XI, which Chance to shine will form, comprising 11 individual donors each pledging £1m over five years.

In 2005, there are 12 pilot projects which are:

  • Seaton Carew CC (Durham)
  • Barnsley CC (Yorkshire)
  • Hunslet Nelson CC, Leeds (Yorkshire)
  • Darwen CC, Blackburn (Lancashire)
  • Gloucester City CC (Gloucestershire)
  • Pershore CC (Worcesershire)
  • Handsworth CC, Birmingham (Warwickshire)
  • Hoddesdon CC (Hertfordshire)
  • North Runcton CC, Kings Lynn (Norfolk)
  • Neath CC (Wales)
  • Wembley CC (Middlesex)
  • Victoria Park CC (Middlesex)

These are operating through ECB Focus Clubs, of which there have been currently 1,453 identified involving 72 schools, one of which is Bethnal Green Technology College.

In the next 10 years the target is to reach 5,200 primary and 1,500 secondary schools in England and Wales.

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, who is also President of Chance to shine, said: "I believe that cricket can play a unique role in the education of children. It is the ultimate team game that reaches across boundaries of gender, race and class, offering opportunity to all - if given the chance."

Chance to shine - Hoggard

Matthew Hoggard passes on some coaching tips at the launch of Chance to shine

England's Matthew Hoggard is the face of the scheme and said at the launch: "I was lucky - my school hardly played cricket but my Dad took me to Pudsey Congs Cricket Club.

"Chance to shine is really important because without cricket in schools too many youngsters will be less lucky than I was. They'll miss their chance and be lost to the game."

Chance to shine is supported by all the major cricketing bodies in England and Wales - from Team England and the ECB itself to the Barmy Army.

It is also endorsed by the world of education in both private and public sectors. The Appeal's President, Mervyn King, is supported by five Vice Presidents who will be in charge of fundraising:

  • former ECB chairman Lord MacLaurin
  • ECB Management Board member Sir Bill Morris
  • Mark Nicholas
  • Lord Paul
  • Sir Tim Rice