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Cricket Strategy for Greater Manchester breaks ground on first project


Lancashire Cricket, Cheshire Cricket Board, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Chance to Shine have partnered with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and its ten local councils to create, deliver, and jointly fund a 10-Point Action Plan for cricket in Greater Manchester.

The Inspiring Generations strategy, running from June 2022 until December 2024, has been put in place to use cricket to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities in Greater Manchester.

One of the first programmes to break ground on one of these key outcomes is a suite of projects helping to equip young people for life through volunteering. 30 renovation projects will take place in grassroots cricket clubs in 10 priority areas across Greater Manchester, providing employability-boosting opportunities for local young people not in education, employment or training, or at risk of disengaging from mainstream education and/or becoming unemployed.

The projects will be delivered by Community Interest Company, Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) project, who combine DIY and volunteering by offering young people the opportunity to learn construction and work-readiness skills with the help of local trade mentors, gain City & Guilds accreditations, whilst renovating and transforming community places. The first project to be completed is at Stalybridge Cricket Club, where VIY and 15 young volunteers from Active Tameside have built a brand new decking area to invite more local cricket spectators to enjoy games and to support the club's financial sustainability and newly renovated hospitality facilities.

Keith Bowers, Secretary, Stalybridge Cricket Club was thankful for the effort and said, “Stalybridge Cricket Club would like to thank VIY and the team for their time and effort on this project. We would not be able to afford the time, labour or materials to complete such a project. The juniors, parents, spectators will benefit massively having a fantastic seating area in a sunny spot. We also know we have hopefully helped some young people on the right track to developing new skills that will help them on a career path.”

Aged between 14 and 24, the youngsters are referred into VIY by youth support organisations local to the projects.

One of the youngsters involved was 15-year-old Khylam from Stalybridge who said,

“’I really want to work in demolition when I am older and I have learnt skills here that I wouldn’t have been able to if the project wasn’t available. Everyone has been good to me and am enjoying every minute of it.”

Meanwhile Francisco, aged 16, was also full of praise for the project and said:

“I have been involved throughout and it is really rewarding to see the whole thing come together. I really enjoy being outdoors and have taken part in the drilling, painting and building.”

Other key VIY partners will play a significant part in the programme, including Sport England as a match-funding partner, as well as Trade sector employers including, Travis Perkins and Dulux, who donate tools and materials for the projects as well as delivering employer talks and work-readiness training for VIY learners related to the construction sector as a secure and accessible career pathway.

Sandy Mitchell, Head of Community Growth at Lancashire Cricket Foundation, said, “The project is a great example of how this strategy will be used to make a positive difference to individuals and communities through cricket. As the first of 30 VIY projects across Greater Manchester I look forward to seeing the impact they have on both the young people they support, educate and train and the cricket clubs themselves.”

Gareth Moorhouse, Clubs and Participation Manager for Cheshire Cricket Board, said, “Stalybridge CC are a club very much at the heart of their local community, so it was fantastic to see them involved in a scheme that gives life and employability skills to the next generation. Together with the trade mentors, the young people have built a fantastic social space that will benefit the club and its’ members for many years to come. Huge thanks to VIY for their input and we look forward to working with them on future projects across the region.”

Ed Sellwood, COO of VIY said, "We've completed over 700 community projects since 2011, many of which have been improving grassroots sports clubs and facilities for the benefit of the local community and all helping boost the employability of the young people who volunteer with us. So we're delighted to now be helping to equip future generations with skills and work experience to benefit their next step in life, whilst strengthening communities across Greater Manchester through the game of cricket and improved grassroots clubs."

To find out more about the 10-Point Action Plan and VIY’s planned projects in the region and opportunities for local young people to get involved, contact info@teamviy.com.

Furthermore the 10-Point Action Plan for Cricket in Greater Manchester will use cricket to bring people together by providing more facilities and opportunities to play cricket in key urban areas of Greater Manchester. Cricket will also be used to mobilise and engage communities and people who are at most risk of inactivity and isolation.

Finally, Cricket will ensure young people are “ready for life” by providing opportunities to learn, volunteer and train by participating in the sport as well as promoting Greater Manchester as the UK’s home of sport and a centre of cultural and sporting innovation.

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