29 May 2017
The UK's leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, the Lord's Taverners, has introduced a new national disability cricket programme called Super 1s.
Announced at the home of cricket, Lord's Cricket Ground, last week (10 May), where disabled young people from Hackney enjoyed a coaching session with Middlesex stars Toby Roland-Jones, Nick Gubbins, John Simpson and Tom Barber, Super 1s is aiming to bring cricket to more young people with disabilities across the country than ever before.
Following a fantastic showcase for the programme at Lord's, there was a big surprise for one of the programme's shining lights later that day. Sam Alderson, who has come through the programme as a participant, and is now working on becoming a qualified cricket coach, was a special guest at the Kia Oval where he had the unique opportunity to bowl at England stars Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, who both showed their support for the new programme.
Super 1s gives young people with disabilities aged 12-25 the chance to play cricket regularly. By creating community cricket hubs, delivered weekly by the county cricket boards, the programme gives disabled young people the chance to compete against their peers, enjoy the benefits of sport and live a more active life.
The new, ground-breaking programme will benefit youngsters in all aspects of their life; it has been proved that engaging in regular sport helps young people develop personal skills, including confidence, leadership, and independence.
For many young people with disabilities, opportunities to take part in regular competitive sport can be limited. But the Super 1s programme has created a new pathway for disabled young people to play the game. The new national programme builds on the work that the Lord's Taverners, in partnership with Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey Cricket Boards, have been delivering across London since 2013, which remains a core element of the new programme.
Since 2014, the programme has been funded by the Berkeley Foundation, Sport England and The Wembley National Stadium Trust.
As well as running disability cricket sessions in all 32 London boroughs Super 1s is now being taken to young people outside of the capital.
Further support from the Berkeley Foundation has helped establish hubs in Warwickshire, and the programme is also being delivered in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Sussex, and Greater Manchester with activity also starting in Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Yorkshire in the coming months.
Lord's Taverners Disability Project Manager and England visually impaired cricketer, Mark Bond, had this to say on the new Super 1s programme: "Super 1s will not only get more young people with a disability playing cricket, but in doing so will provide them with crucial skills that will empower them to live independent and fulfilling lives."
Sally Dickinson, Head of Berkeley Foundation, added: "The Berkeley Foundation has supported the disability cricket programme since 2014. We started with just four hubs and now the programme is bringing new sporting opportunities to young people across the whole of London. The launch of the national Super 1s programme today means that many more disabled young people across the country will benefit."
England captain Joe Root added: "I grew up loving the game for what it was, and just because you've got any form of disability, it shouldn't mean that you can't play the game. It's great that the Lord's Taverners are opening the sport up to people who may not have been able to play before. The more we can do that and the more people we can get involved, it can only be good for the game, so I'm all for it, I think it's brilliant."