England’s disability cricket teams will soon have a new base, with an innovative new inclusive cricket centre to be built in Worcester.
The centre, partially funded by the ECB, will be located at the University of Worcester and will provide a home for elite, grassroots and recreational players of all abilities and disabilities.
Worcestershire County Cricket Board forecasts an additional 8,000 users will benefit from the Centre every year, with a large proportion of these being young children, disabled athletes, women’s squads and students.
The centre will also provide an indoor facility for the County Cricket Cub.
Ian Martin, ECB Head of Disability Cricket
Ian Martin, ECB Head of Disability Cricket, said: “The new cricket centre at the University of Worcester will provide a purpose built, state-of-the-art cricket facility for the region and will become the home for England Disability Cricket.
“This is an extremely exciting development bringing together the cricket world's leading disability programme and the globally acknowledged academic leader in inclusive sport.”
Worcester, and the surrounding area, has hosted several disability cricket tournaments, including this summer’s Physical Disability World Series in which England finished runners-up to India.
It is hoped that the centre will help attract and accommodate further international tournaments and festivals, to help grow disability cricket around the world.
Mick Donovan, the University’s Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the School of Sport and Exercise Science, said: “The University is proud to have created the UK’s first indoor sports venue specifically designed to include wheelchair athletes, in the University of Worcester Arena, which has been a huge success.
“We are delighted to now build on our commitment to providing outstanding inclusive sport and education facilities, through the creation of the International Inclusive Cricket Centre, which I’m sure will inspire generations to come, change perceptions on inclusion and unleash the potential cricket has to offer.”
David Morley Architects has been appointed by the university, having previously worked on the indoor centres at Lord’s, Edgbaston and Loughborough.
Andy Mytom, Partner at David Morley Architects, said: “David Morley Architects’ ethos is to ‘enhance lives by design' so we are incredibly proud to have been invited to work with the University of Worcester and continue our work with the ECB to design these world class sports and academic facilities.
“The building will set a new benchmark for inclusive environments.”