Cricket is having a major impact on the life of Josh Hughes, an 11-year-old pupil at Gwersyltt Community Primary School in Wales. He had joined a new school in year 4 and struggled to break into the existing friendship groups and to integrate. But after taking a starring role in a Chance to Shine schools competition he changed overnight.
Josh became the school's cricketing star and his new found self-belief and confidence helped to make new friends. Sonia, his foster mum, noticed a vast improvement in his behaviour: "His mood swings have died down. He used to kick off, but now he doesn’t! He’s made lots of friends, he’s more outgoing, more confident in every way. He just loves cricket. It’s his life.”
Chance to Shine started working at Chinley Primary School in Derbyshire in 2015, and the Headteacher Mr Lambert is delighted with the results: “The Chance to Shine programme has been great at getting children all the way through involved with cricket. It’s also helped to identify one or two real stars, Caleb being one of them.” Caleb Winfield is a natural cricketer who took to the game instantly. “I knew it was going to be my sport as soon as I started playing it. If you don’t have a good day batting, then you can always bowl and field!”
“There’s not many opportunities for girls’ sports round here outside of school”, says 15 year old Evie, but that all changed when Chance to Shine came to Teesdale in County Durham in Janaury 2016. Watch the impact of the charity's Schools programme on Evie and her classmates:
Dan Grounds has learned from Chance to Shine coaches – now he’s becoming one! 15-year-old Dan had never experienced cricket before a Chance to Shine coach visited his school, Oulton First School in Stone, near Stoke. He was inspired then to play the game and now helps to inspire the next generation of cricketers back at his old school. Watch his story here:
Vineet Singh first attended Chance to Shine Street sessions in Manchester to watch his brother, Vikram, and was reluctant to join in. He has a passion for cricket but as a young person with health issues, Vinny was scared to play for fear of being hurt. His coach Rehaan gradually coaxed him into playing Street cricket and he has now blossomed. He has grown in confidence and has even joined his local cricket club. Watch Vinny's story here:
Five years ago, Jake Louth had never even thought about cricket, let alone played it. All football-mad Jake, from Darlington, dreamt of was to be the next Alan Shearer and score a goal at St James’ Park. That all changed when Chance to Shine coach Darren Brown, from Durham Cricket Board, visited his school. Watch Jake's story here:
Donovan had been severely bullied all his life to the extent that he was quite psychologically damaged by it and had to see a psychiatrist. He’d been happy to get involved in the Chance to Shine sessions but it was obvious to his coach that he had few friends. Donovan really took to cricket and was a canny player. His coach encouraged him to join his local cricket club where no one knew his history. The other boys treated him exactly like any other keen cricketer and Donovan’s mum said he made more friends at cricket than he ever had anywhere else. His consultant said ‘cricket has been his saviour’.
Soyfur Rahman was a pupil at Hague Primary School in East London. Soyfur came to UK from Bangladesh and spoke little English. Cricket helped him to communicate with his classmates, build his confidence and integrate with the school community. Soyfur has since become a cricket coach for Middlesex Cricket Board and is now inspiring children back at his old school. Watch Soyfur's story here:
Arron Hayes, 10, used to struggle at school. His written work was well below average and he had severe difficulty with spelling and forming letters. He was overweight and his mother alerted the school to his violent behaviour at home towards herself, his dad and his younger sister. Action was needed.
Teachers at The Willows Primary School, in Greater Manchester, tried to encourage him to become part of the sports club at school, but Arron resisted fearing he would miss out on time with his computer consoles and TV.
Reluctantly, he joined the Chance to Shine after-school cricket club.
Since then, his mum has seen the difference in her son. “Before he did cricket as an after-school activity, he was argumentative and lazy; just your general naughty boy really. But now he’s let his frustrations come out in his cricket. Arron has a lot more energy, he’s a lot friendlier, happier within himself and a lot more helpful. He’s just a nicer boy all-round.”
Arron now enjoys and looks forward to cricket sessions. He’s lost weight and is a lot less frustrated with his school work; which has also improved. Asked why he continues to attend after-school cricket, Arron says, “It’s fun. It keeps you fit and healthy and makes you happy. I just really enjoy myself.”
Jordan, 11, from Nottingham, had changed primary schools 10 times and was expelled from the last two. Both her parents were in prison and several foster placements had been tried without success. Jordan had frequent episodes of violent and verbally abusive behaviour, but then through a Chance to Shine coaching scheme she discovered a talent for sport. Jordan was in the school team for a cricket festival and attended after-school cricket sessions at the local cricket club. Her outbursts reduced considerably, her school attendance increased dramatically and she showed a talent in maths, art and other areas of sport.
Ian, 10, was classed as morbidly obese. He avoided physical education at school since his experiences had been so negative. In the first Chance to Shine lesson Ian was completely disinterested. The coach persevered and encouraged him to approach it from a tactical, rather than physical, perspective. After a few weeks, Ian became frustrated with the players’ inability to see run-scoring opportunities and eventually decided to get involved. He did this successfully and cricket became his favourite lesson. For the first time in his entire school life, Ian joined an extra-curricular club: the cricket club. He lost weight and continued to enjoy cricket both within and outside of school at a local cricket club.