Haseeb Hameed launches 'Wicketz' programme in Manchester
Lancashire County Cricket Club opening batsman Haseeb Hameed surprised youngsters in Gorton on Tuesday afternoon to formally launch the Greater Manchester Wicketz programme at Cedar Mount Academy, run by The Lancashire Cricket Foundation.
Wicketz aims to change lives through cricket by engaging young people who live in communities where there are few opportunities to play the game regularly. Support will be given to participants to develop crucial life skills such as tolerance, respect, teamwork and self-confidence alongside weekly cricket activity.
The Lancashire Cricket Foundation will be responsible for delivering this programme and have received almost £100,000 of funding from the Lord’s Taverners, the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, to do so. The Lord’s Taverners already successfully deliver the programme in London, Luton, Hartlepool, Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham, Sussex, Plymouth and Leeds/Bradford. Greater Manchester is the latest area to benefit.
Haseeb Hameed said, “I was delighted to officially launch the Wicketz programme at Cedar Mount Academy on Tuesday afternoon. This will give more young people the opportunity to play cricket regularly and benefit from support with other aspects of their life.
“Cricket has made such a big difference in my life and it’s important to give some time and support back to programmes like this.”
Delivery will be focused around three hub sites, one each in Trafford, Salford and the city of Manchester. Support will be sought from the local community to maximise the chance of reaching those 8-15 year olds where positive activity will make the most difference. Cedar Mount Academy in Gorton will host the Manchester hub following consultation with Manchester City Council and its development will be supported by the East Youth Partnership and Bright Futures Educational Trust, amongst others.
Sandy Mitchell, Head of Community Growth for The Lancashire Cricket Foundation said, “With this significant investment, Wicketz now becomes our principal community outreach programme. It complements our other initiatives by inspiring more people through the power of cricket and showing a new generation how to get involved. The success of Wicketz will be measured in the difference it makes to young people’s lives and not merely numbers.”
Paul Robin, The Lord’s Taverners CEO added, “We believe the Wicketz project is vital for not just getting young people involved in cricket but also for the extra benefits it brings with the crucial life skills that can be learnt. The project has been a huge success story across the country, particularly in the last 18 months, and I’m very happy that we’re now able to bring the project to Manchester in partnership with the Lancashire Cricket Foundation.”
Michelle Bennett, Assistant Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning at Cedar Mount Academy concluded, “We are very excited about the opportunities this partnership will bring for the young people of Gorton and East Manchester. At Cedar Mount Academy we welcome innovative partnerships like this to support pathways into club sport outside of school as well as the experiences they give to our young people.”