By Charles Randall
26 November 2011 14:36
Capital projects in recreational cricket have attracted about £52 million from the England and Wales Cricket Trust in the last financial year, the ECB announced at Lord's yesterday.
The ECB disclosed that the Trust had invested heavily in 699 'grassroots' projects with Sport England, a conduit for Government funding. Direct investment totalled more than £11.6 million, and partnership funding added more than £40 million. The figures have been greatly welcomed by the CCC as good news for recreational cricket and a positive move aiding greater social cohesion.
Surprisingly perhaps, in view of the current economic climate, the Trust maintained their investment levels and actually increased partnership funding to various programmes. Added to that, revenue funding totalled £5.9 million through the work of the 39 County Boards.
The ECB said that over the last 12 months the Trust had made investments in all priority areas of development, including women and girls, disabilities projects and projects that encouraged growth in adult participation. This participation growth is an area where the CCC could have a significant role to play in the coming years.
The Trust donates to Chance to Shine - the millionth child participated in their programme last year - and to the Lord's Taverners, who continue to support community cricket and the disadvantaged through schools and clubs, funding the purchase of non-turf practice facilities and equipment bags.
The Trust holds a unique position in acting as an investor in the whole structure of the game at the grass roots level. ECB-affiliated clubs with junior sections can apply through their county boards for an interest-free loan of up to £50,000 to assist in the development of facilities on their ground. Sometimes small grants can be made for "relevant products or materials" that support cricket playing.
Examples of Trust support could be the purchase of energy-saving devices such as efficient boilers, water devices such as rain harvesting systems or ground maintentance machinery. Other items could be sightscreens, covers, water hogs, netting or refurbishing materials for changing rooms. To express an interest clubs should submit in writing a brief explanation of their project and an account of their current status regarding junior development to their county cricket development manager.
ECB chief executive David Collier said today he was delighted with the continued investment the England and Wales Trust has made across the grassroots game. "Assisting communities to maintain and develop their people and cricket facilities is key to sustaining and increasing participation across England and Wales," he said. "We are grateful for the continued investment from all our partners including Sport England, as they contribute hugely to projects across England and within the national governing body."