ECB backs ACE programme to increase opportunities for young Black cricketers
The ECB supports and has helped fund the expansion of the ACE Programme, which was established by Surrey County Cricket Club to increase opportunities for young Black cricketers.
The African-Caribbean Engagement Programme is chaired by Ebony Rainford Brent and was set up in 2020, aiming to address a 75% decline in cricket participation by members of the Black community. After 70 young players – male and female – attended trials shortly before the first lockdown in early March, the programme delivered a coaching and match summer programme for 25 cricketers, including a forty over game at the Kia Oval alongside members of Surrey’s Emerging Players Programme. One young player has already graduated from ACE to feature in matches for Surrey U18s.
ACE has now been established as an independent charity and received £540,000 in funding from Sport England and a grant from the ECB that has allowed a programme to be launched in Birmingham in 2021. This will be delivered in association with Warwickshire County Cricket Club and be overseen by ACE’s first Director of Programmes, Chevy Green,who became ACE’s first full time employee. The ECB donated a further £100,000 as part of the Captain Tom 100 challenge in May 2021, expanding ACE programmes to reach more Black players in more cities over the coming years.
Tom Harrison, ECB CEO said: “The ACE Programme has done a fantastic job opening up opportunities for young people from Black communities to play cricket, and I’m really pleased that the ECB can help fund its expansion.
“We have to offer more access and opportunities for young people to play and be part of our sport. Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not, and programmes like ACE play a crucial part in creating opportunities for talented young cricketers to grow and fulfil their potential as players and as individuals.”