Girls’ cricket continues to get on the Front Foot

Some of Britain’s most successful female business and sports women joined forces at the Mansion House last night (21 November) to help Chance to Shine continue to inspire girls to play cricket.

The Girls on the Front Foot Gala Dinner celebrated the success of women in sport, business and music and brought in £70,000 to support the Chance to Shine charitable campaign and their work with girls cricket.

People throughout the cricketing and business world came to show their support which included England Women’s captain Charlotte Edwards, Tesco Executive Director, Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Head of Women’s Cricket at ECB, Clare Connor, former England cricket captain Mike Gatting, Sir Tim Rice and members of the England women’s team including Sarah Taylor, Lydia Greenway and Danielle Wyatt.

The guests heard the story of StreetChance participant Lois Turner who, despite being affected by several different visual impairments, plays cricket in Sutton with a sighted girls group. She spoke about how the sessions have helped develop her confidence and also enabled her classmates and friends to understand her visual impairments.

The room was also entertained by Mrs Moneypenny who, in between providing some business and cricketing anecdotes, stressed the importance of schools helping to make young women ‘board ready’. She enthused how cricket can help this by instilling confidence, team-working skills, learning to compete with boys and adding value.

The evening, hosted by Sky presenter Sarah-Jane Mee, was rounded off by a performance by Jazz singer, Clare Teal.

Speaking after the event, Charlotte Edwards commented: “It has been an amazing night. Thank you to all of the board for their hard work and for the guests for digging deep for girls’ cricket. People like Lois show the amazing, life-changing work that is being done and long may it continue.”

Reflecting on the night, Lucy Horitz, Corporate and Major Gifts Manager at the Cricket Foundation, said: “We’re delighted with the success of tonight’s event. Not only did we raise thousands of pounds to support girls’ cricket, but we are also spreading the word about Chance to Shine and the fantastic impact of the programme on girls across the country.

“Tonight’s event was only possible thanks to the hard work and commitment of the Girls’ Cricket Board, who are tirelessly committed to the cause.

The ‘Girls on the Front Foot’ initiative was set up to help enable mass participation in girls’ cricket, as well as allowing girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to increase their aspirations and engage in positive, life-changing activities. They are also working to empower girls around the country to develop skills and values such as teamwork, competing with boys, and learning to win and lose, which will help in future careers.

The Chance to Shine campaign aims to bring cricket and its social and educational benefits to young people in state schools across the country. The programme, run by the Cricket Foundation, has so far reached 1.8 million children in over 6,500 schools. Of these 1.8 million kids 44% are girls. In 2012 alone around 160,000 girls took part in the programme. The campaign runs a number of girls-only cricket projects, providing an appropriate environment for girls to learn the game, and working closely with cricket clubs to set up new girls’ teams.

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