Local people and partners have come together to launch cricket’s community cohesion programme ‘Wicketz’ in Hull.
The national Lord’s Taverners funded programme is run in Yorkshire by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF), the charitable arm of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
It has been running in Leeds and Bradford since December 2017, and will now be delivered at three different hubs across the city of Hull.
The core aim of Wicketz is to provide free, accessible sessions in areas of deprivation. It uses the power of cricket to develop crucial life skills, create stronger communities and tackle local social issues.
The programme is volunteer-led and aims to upskill people in the local community with personal development opportunities, including coaching qualifications to make the project even more community-focused and sustainable.
Each city that Wicketz operates in has a dedicated Community Development Officer, who is familiar with the needs of the area and works closely with the children who attend the sessions.
Rick Robinson, from the YCF, is the Wicketz Development Officer for Hull. He said: “It’s a really exciting opportunity to bring cricket into the heart of Hull’s communities, at grassroots level. With three new hubs stretching across the city and the fact that the sessions are free to attend, which means it’s completely accessible to any child that wants to give cricket a go, regardless of whether they have played before or not.
“I think it’s important to have hubs like this, not only to promote physical activity, but also to help to generate a community feel. We’ve got the University of Hull, the Police and Humberside Fire and Rescue on board with the programme, so we’ve got some strong partners involved. Wicketz also utilises volunteers from the local area to help deliver the sessions. The project looks to operate with a volunteer workforce and volunteers benefit from funding to complete coaching and other qualifications that enhances employment opportunities and personal development.
“We introduce more than the sport in the sessions and each week is different, from social workshops on local community issues to education about healthy eating. Our aim is to bring the brand of the white rose to Hull and use it to connect with every individual involved in the programme.”