Matt Hancock goes out to bat for young people in England’s most deprived areas

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Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock MP, took part in a ‘Street cricket’ competition in South London today (7 February), as the Government announced a £3 million National Lottery grant to Chance to Shine from Sport England.

The funding will give thousands of young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas in England the opportunity to play and learn through cricket.

From April 2018, the charity’s Chance to Shine Street programme will expand by approximately 60 projects to nearly 200 projects and leagues, reaching at least 6,000 children and young adults each year over a three-year period.

They are a fantastic organisation that brings young people together from different backgrounds, teaches teamwork and helps develop a passion for cricket
- Matt Hancock MP

Joining the Secretary of State for the Street cricket tournament at the Black Prince Community Trust in Lambeth was England’s World Cup winning cricket captain, Heather Knight and participants from several London Street projects.

Chance To Shine 750Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock said: “I'm a huge fan of Chance to Shine. They are a fantastic organisation that brings young people together from different backgrounds, teaches teamwork and helps develop a passion for cricket.

“I am delighted that, thanks to £3 million from National Lottery players, its street cricket programme is to be expanded reaching some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country. Sport has a unique power to have such a positive impact on people's lives and one of my priorities will be to ensure that we do all we can to use sport as a force for good in communities."

Sport England Chief Executive, Jennie Price, added: “We’re delighted to invest a further £3million of National Lottery funding into the excellent work of Chance to Shine. Sport England’s vision is that everyone – regardless of their age, background or level of ability – feels able to engage in sport and physical activity, so a version of cricket that can be played anywhere, delivered by coaches trained in reaching all parts of the community and working in deprived areas, makes this a great investment. It’s also important to us that Chance to Shine are focussing on the difference they can make to the wider outcomes sport can deliver for young people, such as improved social cohesion and greater aspiration.”

Chance to Shine Street uses the highly accessible, fast-paced and inclusive tape-ball cricket format to engage young people who are hard to reach through the traditional format of the game. Eight out of 10 Street participants who join the Street programme are not members of cricket clubs. Nearly a third of participants (29%) live in the 10% most deprived areas of England (by IMD ranking) and more than half in the 20% most deprived areas.

Watch some Street cricket in action at a project in Wolverhampton:


Approximately two-thirds of participants are from South Asian backgrounds and Chance to Shine Street is closely connected to England & Wales Cricket Board’s work to continue to make cricket more accessible to South Asian communities.

In addition to expanding the number of existing Street projects through ECB’s network of county cricket boards and new partners, the funds will allow Chance to Shine to focus on:

  • providing specialist training for Street coaches to help them develop knowledge and skills such as dealing with difficult behaviour, inclusion and community cohesion
  • running regional and national competitions for youth and young adult age groups
  • setting up 60 Street ‘satellite clubs’ to deliver taster tape-ball sessions in partnership with local community organisations, clustered around current Street projects
  • developing participants into young leaders and coaches – 48% of Street coaches have been either past participants or volunteers at a project; and
  • running a series of educational workshops at community Street cricket sessions, covering areas such as resilience, gun and knife crime and internet safety.

Chance to Shine will also use Street cricket to support young offenders and children at risk of exclusion from school. It follows a crime awareness pilot programme in West Midlands, led by former offender and founder of TSA Projects, Tanayah Sam, which successfully helped to change attitudes of young people towards gangs, guns and knife crime. The new programme will build on this successful pilot activity in the West Midlands and expand to a new city.

Chance to Shine Chief Executive, Luke Swanson said: “This new funding recognises and supports the remarkable work of community coaches who engage and inspire young people in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

“Government strategy seeks to harness the power of sport to achieve positive social outcomes, particularly for communities who are under-represented in traditional forms of sport and physical activity. Chance to Shine Street delivers on those goals, using cricket as a vehicle to help raise aspiration, develop key life skills and promote social cohesion. We are grateful for Sport England’s ongoing support, and excited to expand the programme with existing and new partners over the next three years."

Chance To Shine 1510Lord Kamlesh Patel, Independent Director at the England and Wales Cricket Board added: “We’re keen to broaden cricket’s diverse appeal and give everyone an opportunity to play the game. This generous funding will help Chance to Shine to do just that and spread the power of cricket further into urban areas. ECB will continue to work closely with Chance to Shine and Sport England to get a bat and ball into the hands of more young people – and place a special emphasis on tapping into the extraordinary passion for cricket amongst South Asian audiences.”

There are Street projects running somewhere in the country on 353 days of the year and, on average, each participant receives 32 hours of contact time. The sessions are free and take place in accessible locations within communities, such as school halls, leisure centres, multi-use games areas in public parks and housing estates.

Chance to Shine is at the heart of NatWest’s No Boundaries campaign that seeks to remove barriers that can stop young people trying the sport and staying in it. The charity’s Street programme is having an impact on young people’s well-being: two-thirds of participants said they had ‘felt happier’ since going to Street sessions, 50% ‘felt healthier’ and two fifths were ‘motivated to do well’.

Chance to Shine Street uses a tapeball – a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape – and there is no need for expensive kit and equipment. Games are loud and fast-paced with each innings lasting just 20 balls. Three quarters (79%) of Street participants are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. 

Find out more at chancetoshine.org/street