ECB launches All Stars programme with aim of boosting children's participation in cricket
Last Updated: 20/03/17 1:02pm
The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today launched the first nationwide entry-level participation programme for cricket, with the aim of getting 50,000 boys and girls excited by the game.
A new generation of families will be introduced to cricket through All Stars Cricket, a major new grassroots initiative which starts in May.
All Stars Cricket will be delivered through local cricket clubs and centres across England and Wales throughout the summer, giving five to eight year-olds their first experience of the game.
From Monday parents can register their children to take part via allstarscricket.co.uk. After signing-up, boys and girls will have a cricket 'back-pack' delivered to their door with a bat, ball and everything they need to try the game for the first time.
They will then start an eight-week programme at their local participating centre, with the emphasis placed firmly on learning how to play the game in a fun, safe and inclusive environment. Children will also learn the social development skills that team sport brings.
Each session of the eight-week programme - developed with input from Andrew Strauss and the England performance team - will give children the basic skills they need to develop a lifelong love of cricket.
"We have big ambitions to significantly grow the game and this programme is all about putting a bat and ball in the hands of more children at an earlier age," said ECB Director of Participation & Growth Matt Dwyer.
"First and foremost, we want to make playing cricket a fun and enjoyable experience for children and give them a passion for the game to last a lifetime."
The ECB will give participating centres free All Stars kits, volunteer training and support via a central marketing campaign, celebrating 'Big Moments' as children take their first steps in the game. The programme reflects ECB's strategic framework for growing the game at every level.
"I started playing cricket at my local club and have seen first-hand how important it is to introduce kids to our sport in a fun way," added former England captain Michael Vaughan, an All Stars cricket ambassador.
"As a parent, I've also seen how tough it can be to get kids interested in sport especially given the amount of activities competing for their time. Finding a way for cricket to appeal to kids and to get them active is more important than ever.
"We are bringing cricket to the front door of kids and parents across England and Wales. I can't wait to see the positive impact this will have on clubs and the wider game."