Cricket East - Indoor Big Bash League 2021/22

Cricket East - Indoor Big Bash League 2021/22

Posted: Wed, 16 Feb 2022 10:39

Cricket East - Indoor Big Bash League 2021/22

Cricket East is a collaborative organisation that is responsible for delivering the England & Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) participation & growth activities and supporting recreational cricket, as well as the performance pathway programmes across Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire. The vision of Cricket East is to lead and influence the development of cricket in an accessible while inspiring everyone to take part, and grow cricket in an accessible and inclusive way.

Cricket East secured support from the Together Fund to run the Luton Indoor Big Bash Cricket League, which has attracted 108 participants from Pakistani, Kashmiri, Indian and Afghan communities, including refugees. This league has been crucial in ensuring that those who love cricket were given the opportunity to play under such difficult circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic. Feedback from participants include:

"IBB is a format of cricket for any cricket lover of any ability. It has brought friends together that played maybe in high school college together and then parted their own ways, now playing IBB together again. Lockdown has brought a lack of mental strength and alot of stress that IBB helps to relieve."

"With lockdown over the last 18 months or so the chance to play sport and particular sport that is seasonal become very difficult so having the chance to play indoor cricket in the form of IBB during the winter which isn't traditionally cricket season was great for getting back into participating in physical activity again."

"Since lockdown, IBB has been a great way to get back to socialising with friends. The last 2 years have been tough for everyone. IBB has helped me with my mental health allowing me to clear my mind as well as enjoy playing cricket. Indoor tournaments such as the IBB are a great initiative for people to get together and network while enjoying themselves. We need more community activities like this that will engage youngsters, keeping them off the streets."

"Playing cricket in a friendly but competitive environment has allowed me to feel like normality has started to return to my life. I feel excited and look forward to participating on the weekends. I love meeting my old friends and making new ones and this helps me relax and unwind. During lockdown sitting at home staring at the TV with the occasional walk or bike ride was a very difficult and stressful time for me. I felt extremely unfit and depressed. Being part of IBB has allowed me to socialise and keep fit and most importantly I can play the game I love and have played since I was a young boy. I believe a similar format should be introduced for young kids as they would learn important disciplines and it no doubt would have a very positive impact on their mental well being. With so much knife crime, drugs and anti social behaviour, kids need somewhere to express themselves and let off steam. The organisers of IBB do an amazing job organising all the games and everyone participating or spectating always shows great respect. An inter school IBB competition would be great way of breaking down barriers. Kids of all ages from different schools could meet and compete and this would no doubt be beneficial for the whole community."

Several participants from the Indoor Big Bash League have now gone on to further support cricket, and sport in community activities following lockdown restrictions. One participant has now become a cricket coach and coaches for Cricket East, as well as playing for Bedfordshire county. Another participant has just received his coaching qualifications and is excited to coach alongside playing and another participant is coaching for Lutonians Cricket Club.

Cricket East also received coverage in a recent BBC Look East programme, where participants were able to show to the wider audience just how impactful this league has been to the community in Luton. Our Director, Clare Fitzboydon, spoke with the BBC reporter and expressed her delight with Cricket East and the opportunities it has provided to the local community outside of the traditional cricket season, as well as the wider aims and objectives of the Together Fund.

team BEDS&LUTON are delighted that Cricket East has been able to use Together Fund support to benefit the community through cricket. Stories like Cricket East show just how impactful support from the Together Fund has been for those who needed it the most. We look forward to continuing our support for Cricket East in any way we can.

Tags: COVID-19, Cricket, Cricket East, Evaluation, Impact, Luton, Tackling Inequalities Fund, covid, together fund