Many young people who live in inner-city areas may feel their opportunities to play cricket are limited to non-existent, but Chance to Shine Street – formerly known as Street Chance – is now delivering cricket to thousands of city-based youngsters.

Traditionally in this country, cricket has been viewed as the preserve of more advantaged and affluent areas, with green spaces and clubs providing ample opportunity to play. Most inner city areas boast a rich diversity of ethnic backgrounds, many of whom possess a real thirst for cricket. Those disadvantaged areas, however, have often been left behind when it comes to the provision of cricket – and Chance to Shine Street addresses this in the most admirable way.

Using cricket to create social cohesion

Chance to Shine Street launched as Street Chance in 2008 simply to give children in inner-city areas in London the chance to play cricket. Three years later it was rolled out to Birmingham, Bristol, Dewsbury, Hull, Liverpool and Manchester – and has brought cricket to almost 40,000 youngsters who would otherwise have been deprived of the chance to play.

England cricket’s newest sensation Haseeb Hameed is inspiring youngsters from across the country to pick up a bat and a ball and to play and learn through cricket, and recently he visited a Chance to Shine Street session in Salford.

Breaking down barriers in communities

At the sessions, youngsters play a fast-paced version of tape-ball cricket, using a tennis ball wrapped in tape. Each innings lasts for 20 balls and games last for just 20 minutes. It needs very little cricket equipment and is ideal for inner-city venues. The sessions have been found to break down barriers within communities and help to unite different groups of young people, simply through the team spirit and enthusiasm fostered by playing cricket.

In 2012, the charity received a £1 million grant from Sport England, which has allowed Chance to Shine to create even more sessions as well as running a national cricket league for 16-24 year olds.

Participants are overwhelmingly positive about Chance to Shine Street

In just a year between September 2015 and 2016, 2786 young people attended 156 Street projects across the country, and recent research found participants are overwhelmingly positive about their experience – 82% said they would recommend Street to a friend and 92% intend to continue playing cricket.

The huge success of the award-winning Camden Street Project demonstrates perfectly what Chance to Shine Street sets out to achieve, and it is a pleasure to see these schemes making such a positive difference. If you think your son or daughter can benefit from Street cricket, find out more and get involved in a Street cricket session near you by emailing info@chancetoshine.org.

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