Project 500 Case Study - North Maidenhead Cricket Club
The Ladies Ashes in 2013 really raised the profile of Cricket across the country and as a consequence both North Maidenhead Cricket Club and Thames Valley Cricket Academy received requests from girls and ladies looking to get into the sport. Berkshire Cricket were also keen to increase the number of girls and women playing and coaching the game (2% of Cricket coaches in Berkshire are female). Enquiries into the club and NGB had indicated a real need for ladies only cricket with women not participating in the game within men's/mixed teams citing reasons including feeling intimidated. Whilst Maidenhead and Bray Cricket Clubs had a girls only Cricket section at U13, there were no teams for girls/ladies age 14 upwards in the East of the county with Wokingham and Finchampstead the nearest clubs.
Due to the identified need North Maidenhead Cricket Club were keen to develop a female team for ladies in the East of the county to access. In order to make the ladies side sustainable within the club alongside the aim to create the team was to upskill a workforce of coaches to deliver the training. The aspiration was for the coaching team to include women as role models for the new players to encourage new girls/ladies into the club.
ProcessGet Berkshire Active (GBA) worked with North Maidenhead Cricket Club/Thames Valley Cricket Academy to put in place a Sportivate project to deliver sessions to girls aged 11 – 25 in the local area for 6 weeks. The club were awarded £1,020 of Sportivate funding to deliver 1 initial taster followed by 6 indoor sessions which included funding for coaching, equipment, marketing and a team shirt for the girls participating. The club offered free taster sessions to local secondary schools and the local College to promote awareness of the project. They also marketed the weekly sessions through local sports clubs who use the same site as the Cricket Club, through the RBWM Advantage Card and through local school newsletters. Through this local marketing a number of girls were successfully engaged in the taster and weekly sessions with 8 being sustained throughout the 6 weeks of delivery. At the end of the 6 weeks those girls were given the incentive of a team shirt to join the North Maidenhead Cricket Club to form the beginnings of the new ladies team.
Following the success of the Sportivate project sessions, the Cricket Club were keen to create ongoing opportunities for female players to participate within their club. GBA introduced the club to the new female coach development initiative Project 500 and suggested the club could access support for the development of its female section through engaging with the Project.
GBA worked with Berkshire Cricket and the club to identify potential female coaches to offer development opportunities to support the development of a ladies team within the club. Through Project 500 5 female coaches were awarded Project 500 coach bursaries to attend the Cricket Support Worker training (£50 towards the £70 course cost) delivered by Berkshire Cricket in March 2014. Through wider work with Berkshire Cricket around the promotion of the Project 500 bursary for female Cricket coaches a further 2 women completed the training along with 2 ladies completing their Level 2 Award (£150 bursary awarded per coach). This built an increased workforce of female coaches to support the wider development of female Cricket in Berkshire.
The 5 ladies trained through the Cricket Support Worker Course and linked to North Maidenhead Club were then deployed into the club to support the development the newly forming ladies team alongside the more experienced club coaches.
As there were a number of partners involved in the development of this project a challenge was to ensure clear communication around who was responsible for which elements. Clear communication allowed the project to be delivered effectively and the original outcomes of creating a new team with female coaches to be met. We originally looked to work with the NGB to deliver a female only Cricket Support Worker course, however, due to scheduling restraints and the challenge of filling a course we decided to direct the interested ladies all to the same mixed course.
The Sportivate project was successfully delivered and reported back on to GBA with 8 girls retained throughout the 6 weeks of indoor sessions. 5 coaches completed the Cricket Support Worker training course and were awarded Project 500 bursaries (£50 per coach). 24 girls/ladies now regularly participate in the new North Maidenhead Cricket Club ladies team. The team had planned friendly games throughout the summer of 2014 and plan to enter into the local ladies league for the 2015 season.
North Maidenhead now have a female team offering Cricket to girls/ladies aged 14+ in the East of the County with female coaches supporting delivery and plans to enter into league fixtures for the 2015 season.
This project highlights the importance of ensuring that GBA programme support is delivered in a joined up and coordinated manner to best suit the needs of the local sports community. Linking National Governing Body priorities into local projects is key to ensuring sustainable sports clubs and programmes.