ECB make £2 million investment to take disability cricket nationwide
Scheme run by Lord’s Taverners will make Super 1s and table cricket available in every county
The ECB has committed £2 million to ensure disability cricket is accessible in every county in England and Wales.
The scheme, which will be run by the Lord’s Taverners, is believed to be the biggest investment ever made by a national cricket board into a disability cricket programme and is seen as a key part of their pledge to make the sport more inclusive.
It will see the Super 1s disability cricket programme launched in every county (it is currently in operation in 20 of the 39 counties) and improve the sustainability of table cricket, an adapted version of the sport played on table-tennis tables. The hope is it will increase participation, inspire social change and empower thousands of young people to fulfil their potential and build life skills through the sport.
“This partnership is a true game-changer for the Taverners,” former England captain and current and Lord’s Taverners President, David Gower, said. “This is the largest investment by a cricket board into a disability specific programme and to work with the ECB is an incredible honour.
“The charity’s work has proved life-changing for so many participants and we’re very excited about the opportunity to bring our work to young people in every county across the country.”
By the end of 2021, new programmes in Worcestershire, Northumberland, Devon, Wiltshire and an Eastern Counties project (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire) will have been launched with the aim of being active in every county by 2024.
The partnership will also fund the further development of table cricket which is currently played in 357 schools and by over 8,800 young people across the country. The game allows young people with more limiting disabilities the opportunity to engage in cricket, as well as develop a network of young leaders and schools who engage.
But the programme is more than just about playing cricket. It improves physical and mental well-being, gives a sense of belonging and allows participants to make friends and gain skills such as confidence and independence.
“We’re committed to making cricket as inclusive and diverse as possible and this partnership will be a big driving force towards that,” Nick Pryde, Director of Participation and Growth at the ECB, said. “Bringing the Super 1s to every county really will change lives. It’s a fantastic way to increase accessibility and show that cricket can be a game for everyone.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo