Cricket celebrates Black History Month

October is Black History Month and based on input from the Black community cricket is taking this opportunity to shine a light on little-known stories of the contribution made to cricket by Windrush-era African-Caribbean migrants.

Through a new video series, the pioneering spirit of individuals who overcame barriers to set up clubs for their community and celebrate the passion and energy they brought to the game, which helped inspire a generation to play and follow cricket are being showcased.

Via the link here, you can view a short trailer film featuring Black voices and a carnival celebration of cricket, filmed at Shepherd’s Bush Cricket Club’s inaugural Caribbean Heritage Day in September. Further films will be published throughout Black History Month and beyond.

There is also an accompanying blog post about the Heritage Day which you can read here.

Here in Gloucestershire, we’re taking a look at the progress of the African Caribbean Engagement (ACE) Programme which has entered its second year following a highly successful first year that made a significant impact.

The school programme which offers free PE lessons to primary and secondary schools has engaged with over 6000 students of all ages, including girls only workshops to engage and inspire more girls into cricket.

ACE set up two community hubs in Bristol within the first 6 months of the programme starting at Easton at City Academy School and Lockleaze at Trinity Academy.  The hubs provide participants with the chance to join in with free cricket sessions and hopefully develop a lifelong passion from the game.  For more info on joining an ACE Hub, click here.

The ACE Academy which was launched in January 2022 currently has 25 participants.  This year 12 ACE scholars attended County Age Group Trials and of those, 9 were successfully selected for the County Winter Training Programme in their respective age groups.  5 of the scholars attended for the very first time.  The incredible progress shows that the programme is making huge strides break down barriers and develop players for pathway level cricket and ready them for the next phase of their cricketing journey.

Alongside all the school, community and academy sessions ACE runs in Bristol, in October 2021 and summer 2022, ACE Bristol ran free holiday programmes for the local community, which was well received by everyone.  So beneficial were the holiday programmes, it allowed ACE to get a further reach on the black African community and getting them engage in cricket and other sports and experiences they may not have had prior to the programme starting. The summer programme alone saw over 150 kids receiving free holiday activities as well a hot meal and learning new sports and skills.

ACE now hopes to launch a third community hub in Bristol, get more qualified African Caribbean coaches and expand on relationships with external partners to open more opportunities and experience for all its participants and workforce.

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