The official launch of the Worcestershire Cobham Cricket Trust (WCCT) as the new charitable partner of Worcestershire County Cricket Club and the Worcestershire Cricket Board Limited (WCBL) took place at the AGM of Worcestershire County Cricket Club.
Worcestershire CCC's current President – Lord King of Lothbury – has kindly agreed to act as a patron to the Trust, offering his support to bring cricket to help put bats and balls in the hands of 40,000 young people across Worcestershire.
Whilst understanding that the county club has recently celebrated 150 years, the trust is there to secure the next 150 years of cricket across the county by embedding a love and passion for the game from a young age.
This is particularly so as every participant introduced to cricket is 11 times more likely to attend New Road, and four times more likely to follow the game. This is the future Darryl Mitchell, club cricketer, club groundsman or future lifelong supporter of Worcestershire CCC.
WCCT will work in partnership with the WCBL with the intention of bringing more resources to support the expansion of opportunities for young people to participate in cricket; to bring cricket to areas of high deprivation where young people need an opportunity and to expand the opportunities available for disabled people to participate and enjoy cricket.
WCBL Cricket Development Director Tom Hill said: "I firmly believe cricket has the power to tackle many of the challenges facing society.
"Cricket, when delivered well, can provide direction to the lost, it can connect the disconnected and provide a lifelong boost to self-confidence. Individual responsibility, reliant on those around you playing as part of your team and supporting you.
"It teaches you about being fiercely competitive, whilst also respecting your opponents. I am confident that cricket is the greatest teacher, not only about ourselves but about life in general, about winning, losing, teamwork and communication skills; it creates lifelong friendships and shapes communities.
"The role of the Trust is to simply spread cricket’s unique power and to change lives through cricket.”
An excellent example of the trusts work can be found in Finn Tonks' story.
Finn is a 13 year old boy with special educational needs. Through the Trust, WCBL were enabled to introduce cricket to Finn’s school where a link was established with Oldswinford Cricket Club.
Finn and his friends promptly joined the local cricket club where Finn made clear his dream, to follow in his grandfather and great grandfathers footsteps, both of whom had played professional cricket at Lords.
Finn and his friends had their day out at Lord’s when they were asked to represent Worcestershire.
Finn had a great day out and found a picture of his grandfather in the museum at Lords.
Finn’s mother Briony said: “This experience meant so much to the families and children involved and will remain with them for a lifetime.
“Thank you so much for what you are doing for Finn and his friends, to enable them to be a part of the wonderful sport of cricket.
"I'm sure you can see just how much they are gaining in confidence, skills and ability; experiencing opportunities they may never have thought possible."
Hill is delighted to see the partnership with the Worcestershire Cobham Cricket Trust come to fruition.
He said: “the Trust will help us find and support more young people like Finn and hopefully provide them with opportunities and memories that will remain with them for a lifetime.
"Over the past 12 months, David Leatherdale and I have been working closely in partnership with Worcestershire Cobham Cricket Trust in order for the Trust to become the charitable partner of Worcestershire Cricket.
"Both organisations aims of furthering the reach of grassroots cricket run parallel and this exciting new partnership should help us generate further resources to go back into supporting clubs and furthering opportunities for new and disadvantaged players.”
To find out more about where you can make a donation to the trust please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/lcwyct
To find out more about what the trust are up to please click here: https://www.facebook.com/WorcsCricketTrust/