The Essex Cricket Foundation has been awarded a grant of £15,000 to help more wheelchair users to get into sport. This grant will fund the costs of a specialist wheelchair cricket coach.
Currently, there are between four to ten players attending regular sessions; the aim is to get a core of ten to twelve taking part each week and to establish sessions at other locations in Essex.
Creating more opportunities in wheelchair cricket
Wheelchair cricket is played indoors, all year round, using specialist sport wheelchairs. Essex Cricket Foundation is now looking at more fully accessible venues that already have these chairs to encourage as many as possible to take part.
Patrick Ward, Community Engagement Manager for Essex Cricket in the Community, added: “The basic equipment for wheelchair cricket includes plastic stumps, a compound rubber ball, fielding aids, cones and an adapted bat.”
“The bat is a shorter version of a standard cricket bat and the handles will be such that it will suit both one handed and two handed batsmen. The bat can also be lightweight and will reduce the degree of difficulty for the batsmen to score runs. This grant will help us expand the sport to wheelchair users and make a huge difference across the county.”
Free sessions open the sport up to everyone
The Foundation does not currently charge for sessions to avoid excluding children who would otherwise be unable to take part. This grant will allow the Cricket Foundation to continue to offer free sessions for the foreseeable future, which will encourage more people to try the sport.
Essex freemasons have a go at wheelchair cricket
Rodney Bass, Provincial Grand Master and Paul Reeves, Deputy Provincial Grand Master visited the Essex Cricket Foundation to find out more about wheelchair cricket, and join in themselves. They met with Keith Brown, Chair of the Essex Cricket Foundation, Bill Mansell and Patrick Ward from Essex Cricket and 21-year-old cricketer Bradley Donovan.
Rodney Bass, Essex Provincial Grand Master, commented: “We have seen through the Invictus Games that wheelchair users are capable of anything, which is why I am particularly delighted to have been able to make this donation on behalf of our members.”
“It will help those with disabilities to overcome obstacles that have previously prevented them taking part in the sport and I hope that wheelchair users who enjoy cricket will take advantage of this opportunity to learn the more practical skills via the Essex Cricket Foundation.”