England Ashes star backs schools’ cricket campaign to stop teenagers dropping out of sport

England and Warwickshire cricketer Jonathan Trott is supporting a new drive to take cricket to pupils in UK’s secondary schools and help lower the drop-off rate in sport among teenagers.

Ahead of the start of the Investec Ashes next week, the top order batsman went back to school today (Friday 5 July) to help the ‘Chance to Shine’ programme mark its 500th school-based or ‘satellite’ cricket club.

Trott’s day at Queensbridge School in Moseley, Birmingham, began with an early morning breakfast cricket club in the school gym. He then joined a playground cricket session led by young leaders for children from a local primary school, Moor Green. Finally, England’s number three received a lesson at the crease from secondary school pupils taking part in the charity’s eight-a-side hard-ball competition, ‘Chance to Compete’.

Since receiving a major National Lottery investment from Sport England in April, Chance to Shine has begun creating strong links between community sports clubs and schools with the help of County Cricket Boards like Warwickshire. Local cricket clubs, such as Kings Heath Cricket Club, have worked closely with coaches, young people and teachers to set up a satellite cricket club on school sites; making it easier for young people to make the transition to clubs in the community.

Pupils are at the heart of the decision-making and influence how their school club is run. Activity at the clubs range from extra-curricular coaching and forums to discussions on club activity, organising social events and ambassador visits.

The aim of the scheme is two-fold: first, to help reduce the number of children leaving the game when they move from primary to secondary school and, second, to contribute to a lower drop-off rate in sport among teenagers, especially in the 14 to 16 year age group.

Speaking at the event, Jonathan Trott said, “It’s great to see young people not only interested in the game, but actively leading and promoting it themselves.”

“It’s important that students at secondary schools get the opportunity to play and enjoy cricket, regardless of their background. Chance to Shine is doing a fantastic job at broadening the reach of the game and keeping young people engaged in sport, hopefully, for many years to come.”

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Sport added, “Chance to Shine is a fantastic programme that continues to go from strength to strength, introducing even more young people to cricket. Making the sport readily accessible to young people helps develop an appetite for cricket ensuring they continue to play the game regularly outside of school.”

Since 2005, Chance to Shine has brought cricket and its educational benefits to 7,000 state schools and has reached over two million children. The programme costs £5million a year to run, the equivalent of £15 per child, and in 2012 alone gave 350,000 boys and girls competitive cricket opportunities.

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