5 million not out: Chance to Shine celebrates 15th birthday with new milestone

As the national children’s cricket charity Chance to Shine turns 15 years old, it is announcing today (Thursday 21 May) that it has delivered coaching to its five millionth child. Nine-year-old Yunis Omar attends Percy Shurmer Academy in Birmingham and, alongside his Year 5 classmates, received a Chance to Shine session before the COVID-19 lockdown was introduced.

Percy Shurmer Academy is near the centre of Birmingham and is in one of the most deprived areas of the city. The school, and PE Coordinator Rob Gray, have been very keen to provide children with the opportunity to play cricket as a way to keep them active and help them learn the wider benefits that come from the sport. They have since seen a hugely positive impact upon the children, building teamwork, resilience and communication skills through taking part.

Yunis Omar, the five millionth pupil to receive Chance to Shine coaching since the charity started in 2005, said “When I play cricket, I feel like there’s a crowd watching me! I feel amazing! What I like about cricket is the teamwork because if you don’t have any teamwork then you’ll never succeed.”

Chief Executive Laura Cordingley said “We’re thrilled to be celebrating our 15th birthday and it’s a great opportunity to tell the world about our 5 millionth participant. It’s a fantastic milestone, and to hear about the enjoyment that Yunis and his classmates got from their cricket sessions was wonderful and is a shining example of what cricket can do for young people.

“Whilst the COVID-19 lockdown has halted our direct delivery in schools and communities, it has given us a chance to reflect upon everything we’ve achieved in the last 15 years. We’re immensely proud of the positive impact that our programmes have had on children and young people across the country. The last eight weeks have demonstrated the importance of our work in keeping young people active and supporting their mental and social wellbeing.

“I’d particularly like to thank the ECB and Sport England as well as the corporate partners, trusts, foundations and individual donors who have supported the charity over the years.”

On 23 May, Chance to Shine is celebrating 15 years since the charity was set up by Mark Nicholas, Mervyn King and Duncan Fearnley. As well as reaching five million children and young people, the organisation has also delivered coaching in more than 16,000 schools across England and Wales and runs over 200 Chance to Shine Street cricket projects in urban and disadvantaged communities.

Chance to Shine aims to give children and young people in state schools and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to play cricket, many of whom are experiencing the sport for the first time. A key part of the charity’s work is also to support the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the 600,000 children they work with in a typical year. Through cricket, children are taught key life skills like teamwork, leadership and communication in fun, positive and inclusive sessions.

Since the start of the COVID-19 national lockdown, the charity has focussed its efforts on supporting teachers and parents to keep children active through digital cricket sessions, made available every week, that can be used in the home, with limited space and equipment.

The charity is supported by key funding partners the England & Wales Cricket Board, Sport England, NatWest and Yorkshire Tea. All of whom have continued to support the charity during the current difficult circumstances.

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