All Stars Cricket: ECB targets five- to eight-year-olds with grassroots programme
The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has launched a grassroots programme for five- to eight-year-olds, with the aim to get 50,000 more youngsters participating in the game this summer.
All Stars Cricket is an eight-week course that will be introduced in May through local cricket clubs and centres, offering youngsters a first experience of the sport.
Children will receive a backpack of cricket gear, while participating clubs will be given kit to deliver the programme and training for volunteers.
From Monday, 20 March, parents can register their children via the ECB website.
More than 2,000 clubs have already signed up to the scheme and Matt Dwyer, the ECB’s director of participation and growth, said it has the potential to make a significant difference to the sport’s youth base.
“It’s all about putting a bat and ball in the hands of more children at an earlier age,” he said. “We want to make playing cricket a fun and enjoyable experience for children and give them a passion for the game to last a lifetime.”
Dwyer also noted that family participation is an vital element of the programme.
“We want to make sure parents have a great first experience at the club and give them the chance to have an hour back with their kids every week,” he said.
“We will be encouraging parents to get involved with sessions, whatever their prior knowledge of the game.”
The programme was officially launched on Monday at London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with former England captain Michael Vaughan in attendance, along with current England internationals Jonny Bairstow and Lauren Winfield.
Vaughan is an ambassador for the project and says it is more important than ever to get children actively involved in cricket.
“As a parent, I’ve seen how tough it can be to get kids interested in sport, especially given the amount of activities competing for their time,” he said.
“[But] I can’t wait to see the positive impact this programme will have on clubs and the wider game.”