VIVID and Hampshire Cricket Board launch community initiative to make cricket accessible to children in Portsmouth

A PORTSMOUTH-based housing association has launched free cricket sessions to schoolchildren, in partnership with Hampshire Cricket Board.

By Elsa Waterfield
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 11:25 am

The first of many free weekly sessions with an aim to make cricket accessible to children in Portsmouth took place last Friday.

The sessions have been organised through a partnership between Vivid Plus, Vivid housing association’s charitable arm, and Hampshire Cricket Board.

The aim is to give children aged 11 and over the opportunity to try a sport they’ve had little or no access to and provide a positive focus for them, starting during the summer holidays.

VIVID Housing and Hampshire Cricket Board have launched a free initiative to make cricket accessible to children in Portsmouth.

Oscar, a Year Nine pupil at Trafalgar School in Hilsea, came along to the first session.

He said: ‘I’ve played a little bit of cricket and discovered a passion I didn’t realise I had.

‘When I heard about the opportunity to play each week starting in the school holidays, I knew I definitely wanted to come along as I’m really keen to play more. It’s an ideal location for me being walking distance from home.’

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The project aims to engage young people in regular sport and physical activity to act as an early intervention tactic to help reduce youth crime and provide positive alternatives to anti-social behaviour (ASB).

The partnership will target areas across the county that are hotspots for issues such as ASB over the coming year, starting with sessions at Alexandra Park in Hilsea.

Derek Streek, head of communities, standards and partnerships at Vivid, said: ‘It was great to see so many young people enjoying themselves at the launch of this community cricket initiative.

We want to really open up this sport so many more young people have the chance to benefit from it rather than it being viewed as an elite or posh sport.’

The project received funding from Hampshire police and crime commissioner, Donna Jones, as part of her drive to reduce crime.

Ben Thompson, cricket development director, said: ‘Cricket is a fantastic sport and we want to make it accessible to everyone whatever their background.’

The upcoming dates at Alexandra Park in Hilsea are August 5, 12, 19 and 26, from midday until 3pm.

Families are welcome to the free sessions and players are invited to wear what they want.

For more information or to book a place contact [email protected] or call 07384 115633.