The Coventry Street Project run by the Warwickshire Cricket Board in partnership with the Positive Youth Foundation (PYF) won the Project of the Year at the Chance to Shine Annual Awards on Tuesday 14 November.
The Coventry project was recognised for their hard work supporting grassroots cricket and received their award from England cricket legend Devon Malcolm and Phil Smith from Sport England at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
The Chance to Shine Annual Awards, supported by NatWest, celebrates clubs, individuals and schools who help to spread the power of cricket and make the charity such a success.
The judging panel noted that the project a project is making a huge difference to its local community. Whilst achieving great levels of participation, they are also using cricket as a vehicle to improve community cohesion and help to integrate new people to the area.
Situated at the heart of the city, running from the Sydney Stringer Academy, with very little green space or nearby clubs for children to play at, the project offers a warm, welcoming place to come and play cricket. Apart from London, Coventry has taken in more refugees than any other and the project have welcomed many of these young people to the cricket sessions to help them feel a part of the city.
Chance to Shine has been working since 2005 to reverse the decline of cricket in state schools. By providing coaching in schools and extra-curricular opportunities, the charity has reached more than 3.5 million young people, 46% of whom are girls, in over 14,000 states schools across the country.
After receiving their award Cormac Whelan, Healthy Futures Programme Coordinator at PYF, said “It’s a real privilege to win the award and it’s a testament to the partnership between PYF and Warwickshire Cricket Board. It’s an acknowledgement of how much the children who attend are enjoying it and it’s just growing and growing.”
England cricketer Jason Roy, who attended the event, said “This has been an incredibly inspiring evening. It’s been fantastic to hear the powerful stories of the people who make cricket the amazing, inclusive game that it is. I’d like to congratulate Warwickshire Cricket Board and everyone at the Coventry Street team for all their hard work and dedication to the sport.
“Chance to Shine is a brilliant charity and they are working hard to make sure that every child in the country is given the opportunity to play and learn through cricket.”
Martyn Wilson, Head of Sponsorship & Hospitality, NatWest, said, “It has been a privilege to work with Chance to Shine this year as their first official partner. The Awards are a wonderful opportunity to put the focus on some of the many dedicated individuals who give up their time to support cricket at all levels of the game and we take great pride in being able to help recognise them.
“Chance to Shine does vital work providing educational and sporting opportunities to young people from every background all over the country, through the inclusive and diverse sport of cricket. These values are important to NatWest and this work is something we’ve made a major focus through our ‘Cricket has no boundaries’ campaign this season. We’re excited to help Chance to Shine continue this mission in the years to come and we extend our warmest congratulations to all of this evening’s winners.”
Luke Swanson, Chief Executive at Chance to Shine, added, “Our awards celebrate some truly inspiring people who use the power of cricket to ignite new passions, teach vital skills and unite diverse communities. Coventry Street is a shining example which richly deserves this recognition and thanks. They have made a real difference by giving so many young people their chance to shine, and we hope it will give that same opportunity to many, many more.”