Cricket player

Focus on ... Cricket

How a sport can bowl over barriers to participation, one by one 

Cricket Scotland have unleashed an all-out attack on barriers in the sport with the aim of bringing cricket to a larger, more inclusive audience.

A Digital Strategy launched in 2016 has been the catalyst for their progress, and director of participation Ian Sandbrook admits: “It came about as much out of embarrassment than anything else. At the time, there was no co-ordinated effort towards inclusive or disability cricket. We knew we wanted to do it better and it became our priority to broaden the participants of the sport.”  

Strategy and partnerships

The new strategy has enabled Cricket Scotland to make strides in improving participation from all walks of life, with increasing involvement among women and girls the Asian community. Another important milestone in the journey was the creation of a formal partnership with the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, The Lord’s Taveners.

With this added help from The Lord's Taverners, cricket's progression in the area of equalities and inclusion picked up a little bit of speed. 

Iain Sandbrook adds: “The new funding stream allowed us to hire a new member of staff. A part-time disability officer.

"The other half of their time will be working to progress female participation within the sport. It will help us make great progression moving forward.”

One of the major benefits of this recruitment was the creation of resources to launch four disability hubs, which Cricket Scotland did in 2017.  

Disability centres

The creation of four new disability cricket hubs in Scotland was one of the key outcomes from Cricket Scotland’s long-term Disability Strategy. The aim of the hubs was to provide playing opportunities and an “open” disability cricket experience for everyone, with additional equipment and four fully-trained “lead” disability cricket coaches provided.

The four centres were launched in the Highlands, Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow, connected to existing cricket clubs that fully supported the initiative.

Cricket Scotland were very conscious not to overstretch themselves, as Iain Sandbrook explains.

“We wanted to start small. We want to make sure we get it right, then we can look to expand it and grow the levels of support we are offering.”

None of the clubs selected was accessible for disabled users, so this was a big change for all of the clubs involved. However, it is a change that Cricket Scotland are looking to make to as many clubs as possible in the future.

Cricket Scotland view their transformation as a multi-step process - and they have made a great start. The first four centres have had a transformative impact and are now open to a broad spectrum of disability. As the project develop, Cricket Scotland aim to become more and more specialist in what they can offer players.

Cricket Scotland are also aiming to expand their age range with the intention of creating players at a much younger age who love the sport.  

Find out more

For more information about Cricket Scotland, click here.

To find out more about the work of The Lord’s Taveners, click here.

To see more articles in the Focus On series, click here.

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