23 May

As the national children’s cricket charity Chance to Shine turns 15 years old today (23 May), it announced that it had delivered coaching to its five millionth child.

Nine-year-old Yunis Omar attends Percy Shurmer Academy in Birmingham and, alongside his Year 5 classmates, received a Chance to Shine session before the COVID-19 lockdown was introduced. Younis said, “When I play cricket, I feel like there’s a crowd watching me! I feel amazing! What I like about cricket is the teamwork because if you don’t have any teamwork then you’ll never succeed.

Percy Shurmer Academy is near the centre of Birmingham and is in one of the most deprived areas of the city. The school, and PE Coordinator Rob Gray, have been very keen to provide children with the opportunity to play cricket as a way to keep them active and help them learn the wider benefits that come from the sport. They have since seen a hugely positive impact upon the children, building teamwork, resilience and communication skills through taking part.

Chance to Shine aims to give children and young people in state schools and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to play cricket, many of whom are experiencing the sport for the first time. A key part of the charity’s work is also to support the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the 600,000 children they work with in a typical year. Through cricket, children are taught key life skills like teamwork, leadership and communication in fun, positive and inclusive sessions.

Chief Executive Laura Cordingley said “I’d particularly like to thank the ECB and Sport England as well as the corporate partners, trusts, foundations and individual donors who have supported the charity over the years.”

The charity was set up by Mark Nicholas, ex-Hampshire cricketer and captain and now tv commentator, Mervyn King, ex-Governor of the Bank of England and Duncan Fearnley, ex-cricketer and now cricket bat manufacturer. As well as reaching five million children and young people, the organisation has also delivered coaching in more than 16,000 schools across England and Wales and runs over 200 Chance to Shine Street cricket projects in urban and disadvantaged communities.

The charity is supported by key funding partners the England & Wales Cricket Board, Sport England, NatWest and Yorkshire Tea. All of whom have continued to support the charity during the current difficult circumstances.

John Stephenson




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