StreetChance was this week awarded a lottery grant of £1m by government agency Sport England, in support of its work using cricket to engage young people in areas affected by crime and anti-social behaviour.
The community investment initiative – a partnership between Barclays Spaces for Sports and the Cricket Foundation – will use the funds over the next three years.
It aims to offer community cricket sessions to around 11,000 youngsters, aged between 16 and 24, in deprived areas of Birmingham, Bristol, Hull, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
Participants will play a fast-paced version of the sport, using a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape. Each inning lasts for 20 balls and games are played for just 20 minutes.
This version of cricket can be played with limited equipment, making it ideal for inner-city venues.
By engaging local police in coaching sessions, StreetChance hopes to keep young people off the streets and away from crime, as well as break down barriers between them and police officers.
Young adults not in education, employment or training will also be offered the opportunity to develop and gain work experience, as well as qualifications towards employment.
Many of these youngsters have gained experience by helping to deliver the community investment programme and undertaking coaching, umpiring and sports journalism courses funded by StreetChance.
“We’re delighted that our lottery funding will open up opportunities for young adults who aren’t in work or education,” said Richard Lewis, Chair of Sport England. “StreetChance demonstrates the power of sport to change the lives of young people.”
David Wheldon, Managing Director, Brand & Marketing and Citizenship, Barclays added: “This additional funding will open up the opportunity for many more 16 to 24-year-olds to gain appropriate skills to help them achieve economic independence and security.”
The announcement came as StreetChance hosted an awards event to celebrate individuals who help make the inner-city cricket initiative a success.
Award recipients included outstanding young leaders and volunteers.
The Kirklees Division of West Yorkshire Police also received the Peace at the Crease Award, in recognition of their active engagement with young people, delivering workshops on topics such as drugs and gangs; the consequences of anti-social behaviour; racism; and the dangers of gun and knife crime.
Lord Henley, Minister of State for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction at the Home Office, attended the event and presented one of the awards.
Barclays Spaces for Sports forms part of the Barclays Citizenship strategy.
Barclays plays a broader role in the communities in which it operates, beyond what it delivers through core business activities.
The organisation does this through community investment programmes and the direct efforts of its employees.
Barclays Spaces for Sports uses sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues by helping young people develop a range of life skills.