New Roots In North London

Arriving in a new country can be daunting for anyone. Arriving as unaccompanied minor, seeking refuge in a foreign country, without speaking the language, is an experience few people ever have to go through. Fortunately, for many young people arriving in Brent, North London, they do speak a universal language: cricket.

A lot of the children, however, were worried about joining a traditional club cricket setting. They felt that they might not fit in and the cost of memberships was something they couldn’t face. The boys’ passion for the sport led them to join the Chance to Shine Street Youth project in Willesden Junction. The popular session included children from Afghani, Pakistani and Indian backgrounds.

Although the boys initially kept close to others from the same language group, as they developed their English, they began to mix and integrate much more. The players formed a strong bond and when they became too old for the Youth sessions (ages 8-16), a Young Adults (16-24) project was set up to cater for their desire to continue playing.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Barnet, Pete Jones from Middlesex Cricket Board was approached by refugee charity Paiwand, who were working with several children who loved the sport but didn’t have anywhere to play. Their passion for the sport meant that many were willing to travel to get a game. “We put on a few sessions for them,” Pete explains, “and that grew into the Barnet Street session. Some live in Barnet but the majority live in a number of different boroughs.”

The boys have grown together as a group, with many having joined a local traditional cricket club and are now playing league cricket in North London.

Chance to Shine Street cricket is proving to be a valuable tool for providing young people, passionate about the sport, with a chance to play in a safe and comfortable environment.

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive emails about our latest news, appeals, events and volunteering opportunities.