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Pioneering ACE Programme set to launch in Lancashire

Pioneering ACE Programme set to launch in Lancashire

Cricket’s African Caribbean Engagement Programme (ACE), established by Ebony Rainford-Brent and having already achieved success in London, Birmingham and Bristol, is set to rollout in Manchester and across Lancashire.

The initiative, which provides tailored environments for the development of cricketers from Black communities, will be inaugurated in Lancashire in 2022, after a funding model was agreed between ACE, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Lancashire Cricket.

Former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent, now a commentator on Sky Sports and the BBC, is Chair of the ACE Programme which was originally setup by Surrey CCC in 2019 before becoming an independent charity in late 2020 after receiving £540,000 in funding from Sport England. ACE then formed a partnership with Royal London, allowing it to launch in Bristol.

That financial support has allowed ACE to so far engage over 6,000 young cricketers in London, Bristol and Birmingham, as well as handing out over 200 trials, which have led to a total of 109 scholarships for talented young players in the ACE National Academy.

“Launching ACE into Manchester has always been at the forefront of our ambitions. It’s an incredible sporting city with such a diverse community and working with Lancashire Cricket will give us a fantastic platform to engage and support local talent to create new opportunities for them to start realising their potential”, said Rainford-Brent.

“ACE is focused on connecting the dots to help under-represented groups from the grassroots to the elite. We know this programme will help open up new pathways to do exactly that and are excited to partner with the team at Lancashire to have an impact.

“We’re really grateful to the ECB for this meaningful support, allowing us to build on our initial backing from Sport England and start taking ACE to the next level – a truly national organisation.”

The ACE initiative incorporates talent spotting within schools, followed by trials and the awarding of scholarships to support endeavours to breakthrough into the professional game.

Daniel Gidney, Chief Executive at Lancashire Cricket, added: “We are really pleased to now be in a position to announce and launch the ground-breaking ACE Programme in Manchester and across Lancashire.

“We have been closely watching the superb work being done by Ebony, and her team, and the success which the programme has already achieved in the London, Birmingham and Bristol areas.

“At Lancashire Cricket, we are really keen to ensure that we properly represent the diverse communities who live within the North West and rolling out ACE’s Talent ID Programme across the region will help us re-engage the African Caribbean community.”

Clare Connor, Managing Director of England Women’s Cricket, commented: “The team at ACE are doing brilliant work creating opportunities for young people from Black communities to play cricket and develop their talent.

“After their early impact in south London, Bristol and Birmingham, we are really excited to be helping ACE to increase access to cricket in Manchester and other urban centres across the country. We know that targeted opportunities and support are vitally important in making cricket a game for everyone and ensuring that every young cricketer can fulfil their potential.”

 
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