For all the positives the world wide web brings, it is not without its downsides – and one of them is an alarming lack of activity undertaken by ‘the screen time generation’. Many sports are faced with unprecedented challenges in the reversal of tumbling levels of participation – so it is incumbent upon those within sporting communities to come up with new and interesting ideas and ways to get children off their backsides or off the streets and playing sport.
Project of the Year 2016
The Camden Street Project is now in its third year and recently it waltzed off with the Project of the Year Award at the annual Chance to Shine Awards held at Lord’s. The project is delivered by Middlesex County Cricket Club, and it aims to get kids off the notoriously tough streets of an inner city London borough and into playing cricket. It has succeeded unequivocally.
It is an area in which tensions have existed between factions of young people, and the Camden Street Project has made great strides in breaking down these barriers and bringing the community together. Participation numbers have grown substantially, and the project is forging strong links between schools, clubs and community groups.
Breaking down barriers
In an inner city area like Camden there are kids of all ethnic backgrounds with a thirst for cricket, yet it is of no surprise that opportunities to play cricket are practically non-existent outside of school. The project has tapped into the desire to compete, while at the same time uniting kids from all groups simply through playing cricket. The focusing of minds, the element of team spirit and the sociable aspect of sport all help break the barriers erected by what some describe as ‘social apartheid’.
Inspiring projects such as this go over and above merely teaching young people cricketing skills. It is clearly predominantly a cricket project and it is run mostly with cricket in mind, but it teaches kids an array of other social skills, and gives them confidence which will equip them later in life.
There is no reason why other inner city areas in the country can’t follow suit and offer a similar route into playing cricket for young people. We’d like to extend our congratulations to Shakeel Ahmed and everyone connected with the project for their recent award and, more importantly, for inspiring and empowering young people to play sport.
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