Location, Location, Location

Nottingham County Cricket Club have won every major trophy within the last 10 years. But, at the grassroots level, the city of Nottingham has just four cricket clubs that cater for a quarter of the population of the county. Green space is at a premium and less than half of children get the required physical activity each day. Furthermore, the city is one of the most deprived in the country and has high rates of crime.

To counter these barriers, and to provide the children and young people of the city of Nottingham with an opportunity to get active outside of school, Nottinghamshire Cricket Board run four Chance to Shine Street Cricket sessions in the area.

The projects were set up to cater for the passion for cricket in the community. Ian Dipaolo, who manages the Street programme across Nottingham, says “There was a lot of demand, I spoke to some community partners and groups, they said there were children who were keen to play some cricket.”

Many of those who now regularly attend the projects are passionate cricketers but the barriers to entry combined with the lack of clubs in the area meant they previously had nowhere to play. Just under 90% of the children and young people who attend the projects were not members of a traditional cricket club when they started playing Street. For them, the Street projects are in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.

In the Sneinton area of the city, the club closest to the project doesn’t even have a junior section so despite an interest there was no place for young people to play. Meanwhile across the city at the Djanogly City Academy in Forest Fields, Youth and Young Adult projects run for the participants who all live nearby, for them there is no club within a 30 minute walk. Without the opportunity to play at the Chance to Shine Street cricket projects, very few of the 30 participants who turn up every week would be taking part in any physical activity outside of school.

The Street sessions also serve to keep the young cricketers playing all year-round, Ian says “In the winter, it’s dark, weather’s grim. They wouldn’t play in winter, but these guys love their cricket so they’re able to play all year round. They know that on a Wednesday or a Thursday, cricket’s on. They get into a routine; they know it’s there and they work it round studies.”

To provide further opportunities, Nottinghamshire have set up a community cricket club at Hadyn Road, where they only play non-traditional formats of the game, running All Stars Cricket, Women’s Softball and a girls-only Street Cricket project for ages eight-14. Whilst their younger siblings took part in All Stars, the older girls would play Street cricket, allowing them the opportunity to get active.

In the city of Nottingham, as with many other areas where our programme works, Street projects are supporting the infrastructure of cricket and ensuring that many more children and young people are able to play and enjoy the sport.

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