Bradford has been identified as the second location for a new urban cricket centre as part of the latest phase of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s South Asian Action Plan.
ECB is working together with Yorkshire CCC, Bradford Metropolitan District Council and other key partners and is in the final stages of site selection for the centre.
The partnership also extends to an ambition to continue the development of Bradford Park Avenue and significantly expand the availability of non-turf pitches in the city.
The news comes on Day Two of the Participation Test at Emerald Headingley. Throughout the third Specsavers Ashes Test, broadcast partner Sky is highlighting initiatives helping to make the game more accessible and shine a light on diversity and inclusion within the sport.
Designed to increase participation and encourage positive social cohesion, any new facility in Bradford will provide accessible and affordable cricket for local communities, brought to life through programmes and formats including All Stars Cricket, women’s softball and tape ball cricket.
Lord Patel of Bradford, Chair of the ECB South Asian Advisory Group said: “I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact a centre like this can have in the community and as a Bradford local, I am delighted that the city will be the latest location for an urban cricket centre.
“This facility will provide cricketing opportunities to a whole range of local communities.
“The announcement is the latest iteration of this plan in action and one more step people in South Asian communities feeling like cricket is a game for them.”
Bradford is one of the 10 ‘Core Cities’ identified in conjunction with Sport England where cricket can have the biggest impact in connecting with South Asian communities. Yorkshire Cricket Foundation will support the new urban centre with a variety of cricket programmes.
The first urban cricket centre opened in June this year at Leyton Cricket Club in East London.
Created in conjunction with Waltham Forest Council and Essex County Cricket Club, it is the first urban cricket centre of its kind and has laid the foundations for other centres to be built.
The South Asian Action Plan focuses on 11 priorities spanning recreational cricket, talent development and retention, attendance, administration, and culture and facilities.
The plan was implemented to address several key gaps including a lack of opportunities for the South Asian community to engage with cricket, removing the barriers to participation and developing stronger relationships between stakeholders across cricket and the community.
One year on from the launch, the plan has already delivered a significant number of initiatives with many more to progress in the coming months and years:
- The Leyton Urban Cricket Centre has now opened with Bradford identified as the next centre
- £1.2m of funding secured from Sport England and invested in the recruitment and training of 2,000 South Asian female volunteers
- A pilot programme with the Springboard Foundation is creating life-changing opportunities for four talented young cricketers
- 50 female coaches have been trained and six new women’s softball leagues set up in urban areas
- 1,000 parents have been educated on the talent pathway for kids
- ECB T20 City Cup has expanded to 16 cities delivering greater reach
- 179 street projects have been set up through Chance to Shine with 4,100 children reached across the country
- 110 non-turf pitches will be installed by the end of 2019
Explore more information and download the action plan in full here.