Sport has a powerful role to play in helping children and young adults develop friendships, grow in confidence and reducing social isolation.

Building friendships

In a Government evidence review, sport is described as a ‘social glue’ that promotes connectedness, a sense of belonging and greater community involvement.

It found that, in a time when increasing numbers of young people report mental health problems, “organised sport and exercise provide an important social context for tackling feelings of social isolation, a factor in poor mental health.” (Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2015)

We have seen how cricket can engage children in a team activity, including those less likely to be active, and foster lasting friendships. Teachers have told us how important these friendships are to young people, including Sarah Watts, who spoke on how cricket had supported girls at Millthorpe Secondary School in Yorkshire:

“If it wasn’t for the opportunities that the girls have had through Chance to Shine, we probably wouldn’t have as many girls taking part in cricket. It is one of the most popular clubs at school and engages students from all year groups, fostering new friendships and vital support networks.”

At Brooke Primary School, pupils from different years play together and Year 6 pupil Jake describes it as "kind of like a big family". Jake, who was bullied at a previous school, has developed through cricket and he told us that "Sportsmanship really helped me find friends."

Building communities

Cricket is uniquely placed to reach diverse communities and bring people together. 

Many Street projects are based in areas of high population change, and 66% of participants live in the most deprived areas of England. Coaching sessions are based at local hubs in the heart of the communities we seek to engage – youth clubs, leisure centres, parks and community centres.

Young people value the opportunity to make friends and be more active in their community. Competitions help them to develop a sense of pride within teams, as well as travel outside of their local area to meet young people from different areas and backgrounds.

I joined because cricket is my favourite. It helped me with my social life and integration.
- Street cricketer, 11, Coventry