“It Gave Me A Sense Of Belonging”

Vishal has been involved with Chance to Shine since he was nine years old, shortly after moving to the UK from India. Having grown up playing cricket with his cousins, inspired by the World Cup, Vishal was happy to have Chance to Shine coaching in his primary school and joined a nearby Street project. Vishal has spoken about
how Street has supported him to make friends in his new community and learn from his coaches. He has since begun to train as a cricket coach, through Chance to Shine, and helps out at sessions for younger children.

“When I joined Street, it was something new to do, something fun, and because I was new to the UK I found new people through it – it gave me a sense of belonging. Most of the people who were there at the first few sessions are still in contact with me, friends who I would call to ask for a favour, that close.

“Playing in national competitions against guys from London, Manchester, Birmingham, local competitions in Bristol, opening the batting for the team, even though I was the youngest – they’re amazing memories for me. I’m still friends with some of the guys from Birmingham and Manchester, we are still in contact on Facebook and text.

“For my coach, Masoor Khan, it wasn’t just about cricket, it was about being a good person, taking responsibility and making friends with people, the opposition too. After the game has finished, do you want to leave someone with
the impression that you aren’t a nice person? It’s about making sure everyone is enjoying cricket and playing for the right reasons. I try to do this with everything now – coaching, college and job.

“Chris Munden, another coach, spoke to me about opportunities to join a local club, somewhere I could play more cricket. It’s become a second home to me, I’m there between three and five days a week.

“Now I’m on the other side, training to be a coach, and I’m helping those kids making the same journey I did.”

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