Charity celebrates two million girls playing cricket, on International Women’s Day 2019 Chance to Shine is marking a major milestone on International Women’s Day today (Friday 8 March): reaching its two millionth girl to play, learn and develop through cricket since 2005. Nine-year-old Keira McDermott from Langley Primary School in Staffordshire has become the two millionth girl to pick up a cricket bat and ball through the Chance to Shine programme which is supported by the England & Wales Cricket Board and Sport England. Former England captain and pioneer for the game Charlotte Edwards, revealed the news during a special school assembly at Langley Primary, led by Staffordshire Cricket, awarding Keira with a certificate to celebrate the achievement. To mark the occasion, in the week of International Women’s Day, Keira also helped to open the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday (6th) after an invitation from LSE and Chance to Shine Chairman Sir Donald Brydon. Chance to Shine Chief Executive Laura Cordingley today announced funding for a new Chance to Shine cricket programme in state secondary schools, reaching over 14,000 girls through 120 schools. Only one in 10 teenage girls get the physical activity they need each day and one in 10 play for a sports team, as opposed to one in three boys*. The Royal Mail, Sage Foundation and several of the charity’s donors are all supporting the new scheme, launching next month, which will provide a comprehensive programme of coaching, leadership training and competition to teenage girls. It aims to help them develop key life skills needed for the classroom and, in future, the corporate boardroom. Natwest, Chance to Shine’s Official Charity Partner will be supporting our work to help understand the wider impact of team sport, particularly for teenage girls in developing key life skills that will support future education and life choices. Speaking at Langley Primary School, Chance to Shine Trustee and long-term charity ambassador Charlotte Edwards said, “It’s such a proud moment for me to meet Chance to Shine’s two millionth girl, Keira, and to celebrate on International Women’s Day this massive milestone with the charity. “For me, when I was young, there were absolutely no opportunities for girls to play cricket in school – zero - and I played for the boys’ team. It’s therefore really inspiring to see so many girls not only playing the game at school, but also learning valuable skills like teamwork, leadership and self-confidence; as well as improving their physical and mental health. Chance to Shine is helping to normalise cricket for girls and I’m so pleased to be a part of this fantastic charity.” Chance to Shine Chief Executive Laura Cordingley added, “When we visit schools and ask girls about having equal sporting opportunities as boys they all speak passionately and, without missing a beat say, ‘Girls are just as good as boys and should have the same opportunities to play cricket’. As one head teacher told me, ‘Our girls don’t want to be making the cricket teas, they want to play!’ Each year we are giving hundreds of thousands of young girls the chance to play the game and now, with our exciting new secondary schools programme launching in April, we can inspire even more. To reach two million girls is a phenomenal effort and a credit to everyone who is involved in Chance to Shine.” England captain and Chance to Shine Ambassador Heather Knight congratulated the charity on its success saying, “Chance to Shine has done so much for cricket in this country, and specifically for women’s and girls’ cricket. Two million girls introduced to the sport is a massive achievement and it’s exciting to think of what that might mean for the future. We’ve been trying to build on the momentum from our victory in the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017 and Chance to Shine’s new secondary school girls’ programme can play a big role in getting more girls to pick up a bat or a ball and start playing the game.” Debbie Wall, VP Sage Foundation commented, “Developing leadership skills through cricket is an invaluable opportunity for teenage women, which they can apply later in business. Empowering Women is a key pillar of Sage Foundation’s corporate philanthropy programme, and we agree with the UN’s view that increased leadership by women is good for business. We are pleased to support Shine’s school programme for teenage women, helping them on the journey from the classroom to the boardroom; we see our contribution as an important investment in the future of business.” Chance to Shine works with 39 county cricket boards to fund high quality cricket coaches to deliver cricket to around 500,000 children in 4,000 state primary schools each year (15,000 since 2005) and urban community areas nationally through its Chance to Shine Street initiative. From April 2019, the new secondary school girls’ programme will include: girls-only after-school clubs in 120 state secondary schools – an accessible environment to build confidence, skills teams and develop role models for 3,500 young people. leadership training to 1,200 girls aged 14-16, building the skills to support and run their own after-school cricket club; volunteer alongside their coach in their old primary school; set up and run a cricket festival for local primary schools on their secondary school site engaging 3,500 Year 6 girls to experience cricket through festivals facilitated by young leaders. county and regional competitions and festivals for 7,000 girls. digital resources to support schools nationally to engage girls and boys in Chance to Shine.