Published on 28th February 2014

group of boys with cricket bats

Young people in Hester’s Way and Whaddon are benefiting from free weekly Street Cricket sessions in the evenings at local community venues.

The council’s sports development team has been working in partnership with Gloucestershire Cricket Board to implement the StreetChance programme into these areas of Cheltenham. StreetChance is an inner-city cricket initiative designed to engage young people from a range of backgrounds in areas affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour. It is run by the Cricket Foundation and has engaged nearly 27,000 young people across the UK since 2008.

Thanks to funding from StreetChance, as a reward for the participants’ hard work and commitment to the projects, the team were able to take the young people to two competitions held in London and Bristol. Participants competed against other teams from Hull, Liverpool, Bristol and London, with a final competition being organised in Bristol where they competed for medals.

Tom Sparks, sports development officer for Cheltenham Borough Council, says: “Through working closely with Gloucestershire Cricket Board, we have been able to implement the StreetChance Cricket programme into two key areas of Cheltenham, engaging young people from 11 years upwards in this fantastic urbanised version of cricket.

“The young people have responded superbly and we have even introduced a specific night of the week designated to the sport at Whaddon Youth Centre, attended by around 15 to 20 young people each night. It makes a fantastic addition to our StreetGames portfolio of provision across the borough and gives young people a real variety of options to choose from.

“Thanks to StreetChance we were able to take the regular participants away to a competition in central London, which was a fantastic and invaluable experience. They came back enthused and inspired to continue to keep active and improve in the sport. We hope to be able to continue to provide these projects in the future."

Jamie Mitchell, Gloucestershire Cricket Board coach added: “Most of the boys had never been to London in their lives, so the bus journey alone was a great experience. The majority have only been playing cricket since November so it was a big step for them. Although they didn’t win any matches they acquitted themselves well and learned a lot from taking part in the competitions. The StreetChance sessions in Cheltenham continue to grow in popularity and they have given young people a chance to play cricket that never would have otherwise played."

Cllr Rowena Hay, cabinet member for sport and culture, commented: “The drop-in Street Cricket sessions have really engaged the young people in these areas. It’s fantastic to see them taking part in competitions across the country and coming back inspired to do it even better. I’d like to thank the sports development team and Gloucestershire Cricket Board for delivering this to the young people in these areas.”

Street Cricket takes place every Tuesday from 6.30pm to 8m at the YMCA Sports and Community Centre in Hester’s Way, and every Wednesday from 6pm to 7pm at Whaddon Youth Centre.

To find out more and get involved contact Tom Sparks, sports development officer on 01242 264324 or email Tom at [email protected].

For press enquiries contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email [email protected]

Find out more about StreetChance, visit the StreetChance website:
Photograph available on request. Please call Laura Carter as above.