It’s not just cricket…

… it’s about ensuring that those with learning disabilities and/or autistic people lead a healthy lifestyle, build social connections, and improve their lives – something core to the values of the Somerset Cricket Foundation.

 The Foundation piloted cricket activity partnerships with day service providers, with the aim of reaching more adults with learning disabilities. They also grew their Disability Champion Scheme, supporting member clubs to develop inclusive offers of their own.

Through the Discovery Community Fund, Somerset Cricket Foundation were able to secure funding to employ an Adult Disability Participation Officer, Emily Vickery. Her role is to deliver cricket, develop the workforce, engage with local cricket clubs, provide life skill opportunities, and create fun competition. The funding also provided venue hire to help bring cricket to people as well as essential equipment.

 Community Programmes Manager at Somerset Cricket Foundation, Stephen Gass, said:

 “All the participants in the pilot said that the sessions helped them become more active and that they would like to do more cricket. 91% said their teamwork abilities increased. One man who sometimes struggles with his mobility has really enjoyed and engaged with the cricket sessions – he has found these have taken his mind off these issues.”

Emily echoes Stephen’s sentiments, saying:

“Everyone that’s come into contact with the program, whether it be participants, or volunteers delivering sessions at the cricket club have really enjoyed it. It isn’t just about the cricket, but about socialising, having fun and getting to meet new people.”

Stephen said the process of applying for a grant was straightforward, with advice and assistance from Programmes Director, Andy Ridgewell. Stephen said he’d encourage other to go for it too.

For us, it had a huge impact and allowed us to employ a dedicated member of staff to go out and work with adults with disabilities and offer cricket as opportunity for them to get active and integrate with their local community.

Somerset Cricket Foundation firmly believe that having a disability should not be a barrier to participating in sport and leading a healthy and active lifestyle. The Foundation aim to spread this model across the country to give adults with learning disabilities and/or autistic people a clear route to move from taster sessions in day centres and community outreach service to local clubs, and to ultimately play for disabled or visually impaired teams.