Lancashire Cricket Foundation has today revealed that it provided high-quality cricket provision for more people than ever before last year as 75,291 participants from schools, clubs, and communities across the county engaged with the sport.
The figure represents a single-year participation record, with more children and young people, women and girls, people with disabilities and more older members of the community taking part in community activities delivered by Foundation coaches.
The new benchmarks were underpinned by the distribution of more than £425,000 of funding into the grassroots game at all levels across Lancashire by the official charity of Lancashire Cricket.
The Lancashire Cricket Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation – provides county-wide governance for the recreational game and access high quality experiences that make a positive difference to the lives of the individuals and communities, in order to grow the appeal of the game at all levels.
2021 saw unprecedented growth of the women and girl’s game, underpinned by Foundation programmes and investment. More cricket clubs in Lancashire are now operating dedicated women and girls sections than ever before with increases of 75% (from 33 to 58) and 61% (from 19 to 33), respectively.
The figures have been published in a new Impact Report released as the Foundation prepares to welcome 1,700 children from 25 primary schools to Emirates Old Trafford for a Schools Open Day. The event gives pupils the opportunity to experience cricket at a world-class facility combined with a range of fun, physical and educational activities.
Commenting on the Foundation’s Impact Report, Bobby Cross, Chairman of the Lancashire Cricket Foundation, said: “We are extremely proud to share the many record-breaking achievements that were delivered by the Lancashire Cricket Foundation last year, especially against the background of the pandemic, which once again disrupted our activities.
“On a practical level, the Foundation has supported its leagues and clubs with much-needed financial assistance and guidance to navigate through the complexities of playing cricket during the pandemic.
“More broadly, the Foundation supports a wide range of opportunities with a clear focus on growing the game and helping to actively change lives through the power of cricket – and we are delivering on these commitments. To support more than 75,000 participants in 2021 is a fantastic achievement.
“In addition, we’ve launched nine Lancashire Cricket Development Centres, seen the staggering growth in women and girls cricket, started a Walking Cricket programme for older members of the community, initiated a Gambling Education programme for young people aged 14 and have increased our presence in deprived urban communities where there are fewer opportunities to play the game regularly.
“Looking ahead to this summer, there is plenty to be excited about and today’s event at Emirates Old Trafford with 1,700 children from 25 schools across the county is just the start.”
Another key achievement for the Foundation during 2021 was the launch of nine Lancashire Cricket Development Centres, strategically located throughout the county, delivering on its commitment of inspiring the next generation of young people to play the game. Opened in September 2021, these facilities have already welcomed hundreds of young people with plans to significantly grow the number of established centres in the coming years.
Lancashire’s 290 recreational and affiliated clubs, catering for almost 18,000 senior players and 8,000 junior participants involved in competitive cricket, are at the heart of the Foundation’s work as it aims to ensure they can thrive and grow, attracting more people to play the game.
The Lancashire Cricket Foundation is preparing to deliver a range of projects, programmes and events across the North West this summer designed to engage, excite, inspire and improve individuals and communities through cricket.