Character Through Cricket – a project to promote positive character and integration through sport – has been announced as one of ten sports-based projects across the UK to receive funding from the Home Office’s Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) programme to tackle extremism in sport.
The project has been awarded £50,000 to engage 600 young people in secondary schools in Newham through the summer holidays and during after-school activity. As well as bringing people together through cricket, the project will include community activities, promote citizenship and directly challenge extremist agendas.
The award is part of a wider announcement of £400,000 to ten sports-related projects across the country made by Baroness Williams, Home Office minister for countering extremism. England Netball and football club foundations across the country are among others to receive funding.
Announcing the funding, Baroness Williams said: “The work that Character Through Cricket is doing to bring people from a wide range of backgrounds together shows that sport has a uniquely powerful way to break down barriers and provide a common platform to unite us all.
“This is why Building a Stronger Britain Together is providing funding to organisations to strengthen our communities so that they can stand against those who seek to divide us with extremist views.”
Commenting on the announcement, Simon Prodger of the Club Cricket Conference, said: “We are delighted to become part of the BSBT network alongside our consortium partners. We know that cricket offers us a medium through which to engage and support young people in Newham.”
The development of the project has been directly inspired by what the East Africa Character Development Trust (EACDT) is currently doing in Kenya, of which Prodger is the executive trustee. The Newham project will be utilising the same syllabus and delivery techniques that have been developed by EACDT, where the charity works with 4,500 young and disadvantaged children every week of the academic year.
Nick Gandon, programme director of Character Through Cricket, said: “Character Through Cricket is a programme which aims to equip young people with the values and attitudes that will allow them to succeed, not just in sport but in every aspect of their lives. The threat of extremism will be much diminished if those most susceptible to radicalisation can achieve success and feel fully integrated within modern Britain.”
They join a network of more than 160 organisations who have received support from BSBT since it was set up in 2015 as part of the government’s counter-extremism strategy. It supports civil societies, community organisations and grassroots campaigns who work to bring together young people from segregated communities.
*Featured image source: Newham Cricket Club