ICC Europe 'Street 20' initiative aims to increase participation in urban communities across Europe
Cricket is set to play a major part in giving disadvantaged young people across mainland Europe the chance to better their lives and increase participation, thanks to a new initiative between ICC Europe and Cricket for Change.
'Street 20 Europe' - being launched in London this week - is based on the popular Twenty20 format of the game and will help to increase cricket participation to non-traditional groups in countries where the game is still developing. As a clear strategic goal of the ICC, this modified version of cricket is a great step forward to enable more people to play the game.
It is believed that the project which also centres around social inclusion will break down racial, religious, social and economic barriers by introducing cricket to inner-city communities.
Representatives of six ICC Europe members - Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain - will take part in a three-day 'Street 20' training course hosted by ICC Europe and Cricket for Change.
Nick Pink, Regional Development Manager for ICC Europe, says: "Sport has the power to change lives, and our aim with the 'Street 20' project is to take cricket to disadvantaged communities which may never have experienced the game before, and give young people the opportunity to better themselves by taking part in a positive activity that promotes good teamwork.
"Our training programme taking place at Cricket for Change will equip 'Street 20' leaders from six ICC Europe member countries with the skills and the tools they need to deliver this exciting project - and help to increase participation in this great game throughout the continent where the game is still developing."
'Street 20' is a mixed-gender programme which will ultimately look to establish and develop cricket leagues and competitions which are open to all sections of the community in participating countries.
Cricket for Change and ICC Europe have jointly developed and will deliver the structured, activity-based training programme which promotes togetherness and teamwork while focusing on practical ways to put the 'Street 20' project into action.
Andy Sellins, CEO of Cricket for Change, says: "We have run similar Street 20 development programmes in Israel and Palestine, Jamaica and Afghanistan and they have been very successful in bringing together young people from different ethnic, religious and social and economic backgrounds to work positively together."