More than 100 clubs have signed up the ECB’s new Disability Cricket Champion Club programme, which aims to open up cricket clubs to people with disabilities in a way not seen before.
The Champion Club programme complements the outstanding programmes already delivered by the Lord’s Taverners and supports cricket clubs through guidance, resource and equipment, enabling them to welcome individuals with additional needs and varying abilities to support them to play, follow, officiate and volunteer.
Launched in February 2021, applications were welcomed from cricket clubs until the end of April. In total 103 cricket clubs from across England, Wales and Scotland applied to the scheme. These clubs are now receiving free training equipment and online resources and support to develop inclusive playing opportunities.
Edgar Herridge, the ECB’s National Disabilities Manager, said: “If 20% of society has a disability then where are they in our cricket landscape? In its simplest form, the programme offers more opportunity.
“If a disabled person’s local opportunity was maybe ten miles away, this may bring it down to three which is obviously in itself a positive. But actually it does something wider for social inclusion and brings to the fore inclusive practice.
“We’re fortunate enough to have disability cricket activity all over the country but until now only about 5% of that has been carried out within cricket clubs.
“We know they’re fantastic settings to really encourage that migration from maybe a SEND school or community group and bring them through the gates to get involved at their local cricket club.”
One such club is Walton-on-Thames CC in Surrey which, with the help of the Surrey Cricket Foundation, has been able to deliver year-round activities for more than two years.
On encouraging inclusion and setting up a disability cricket section, Gavin Reynolds, Surrey’s participation manager for inclusion and diversity, said: “You just need one or two people from within your club to drive things forward to be that main point of contact working with your local county board, looking to do taster sessions in local areas schools, colleges and community groups,
“For me, as someone who works in disability cricket, this is a massively positive area to work on. To see so many people get involved in the fun and see the enjoyment on their faces as they come and get involved in cricket is fantastic.”
For more information on ECB’s Disability Cricket Champion Club programme, click here.