Empowering Youth Through Cricket

A year of youth cricket with The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation
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In a vibrant collaboration during the October half term 2022, The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation joined forces Feel Good Factor to make a difference in the lives of children from the Chapeltown area. These children had not previously experienced the joy of playing cricket, so we introduced them to the sport through exciting Pop Up Cricket taster sessions.

Over four engaging hours, we provided these youngsters with an introduction to cricket, leaving them with a free bat and ball at the end of the sessions. Their enthusiasm and enjoyment during these sessions were palpable, signalling a real interest in cricket among them. Encouraged by this response, we arranged for an ‘Enjoy Cricket’ program during the subsequent February half term in 2023. The Enjoy Camp in February proved to be another success, with 15 children participating in cricket across two exhilarating days.

The momentum continued into the Easter half term, presenting a wonderful opportunity for the children to visit Headingley Cricket stadium. The stadium tour was a transformative experience for them, as they explored the museum, stands, and even the hallowed changing rooms. This first hand encounter with the cricketing arena acted as a catalyst, significantly enhancing their interest and skills in cricket.

The success of the Easter programme set the stage for an exciting summer. The positive feedback and enthusiastic response from the children indicated their keen interest in participating in the annual beach cricket event. However, before reaching Scarborough for this beach cricket day, an unparalleled opportunity awaited the Feel Good Factor children.

In a momentous event, they were given the honour of being the guard at the biggest T20 game of the year—Yorkshire Vikings vs Lancashire Lightning. For many of these children, it was their first-ever live cricket match, an experience that left an indelible mark and fueled their passion for the sport.

August marked the onset of the summer holidays, coinciding with the commencement of our Enjoy Cricket camps. On the inaugural day of the Feel Good Factor Enjoy camp, we kicked off with an exciting warm-up for the beach cricket event. The children were prepared, having honed their skills over the past nine months.

On a sunlit Yorkshire Day in Scarborough, 1st August 2023, Feel Good Factor, accompanied by several other community groups from Yorkshire, embarked on a journey to the beach for an enthralling day of cricket. The day commenced with the children boarding the train at Leeds City Station, arriving in Scarborough just in time for a 10:30 AM start on the sandy cricket grounds. Engrossed in three exciting matches on the beach, they emerged victorious in their very first game of cricket. The delighted faces of the children painted a lovely picture as they savoured free fish and chips on the beach. Later in the day, we strolled from the beach to Scarborough Cricket Club to witness a fascinating clash between Yorkshire CCC and Kent in the One Day Cup.

This incredible journey with Feel Good Factor demonstrated the transformative power of sport, particularly cricket, in the lives of children. Through these initiatives, we not only introduced them to a new sport but also provided experiences that fostered growth, teamwork, and unforgettable memories, paving the way for a brighter future.

Jake Littleton from the Yorkshire County Cricket Foundation