Yorkshire Cricket supports Beeston disability group

The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) have come together with the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) and Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) to support HALO, a learning disability service provided in Beeston at the Hamara Centre.

HALO has been running at Hamara since 2010, with cricket training taking place every Monday. The sessions, which cater for anyone over the age of 18 with a registered learning difficulty, promote a relaxed environment allowing participants to socialise and take part in a range of cricket-related activities.

Chris, from Beeston, who has learning difficulties, has been attending the HALO project every Monday morning for 4 yeas and absolutely loves cricket.

As part of the YCF’s Diverse Communities work, the foundation have focused on building relationships with existing groups in Leeds, establishing needs of different communities and creating opportunities based on these. With this as a main focus, and to lead in the progression and development of the sessions, the YCF have provided cricket equipment for the HALO group to use and YCB have funded Chris to go on a level 1 coaching course in February so he can become a qualified coach.

Charlie Roebuck, Disability Community Cricket Officer, said:

“Chris will benefit on a personal level, increasing his key skills and allowing him to take a lead in the organisation through the delivery of cricket. Cricket is a passion of his and through the work YCF have done, we identified him as a potential coach.

“Disability cricket needs coaches who sympathise with the disabilities on show. The understanding is something in which a non-disabled person will never know. Chris shows outstanding knowledge and understanding of the game of cricket as well as the participants needs. Enhancing his game-based learning and key cricket skills can only push him forward into further employable opportunities. Chris would have no problem working in the cricketing coaching world and I would be happy to have him in my team.”

Chris, HALO Member said:

“I love cricket and I am very grateful to Yorkshire Cricket for selecting me for this course. I am really looking forward to completing my course and teaching others.”

And Chris’s Carer commented:

“Having been selected to take part in coaching is a great personal development opportunity for Chris. I think it will help to build his confidence and self-esteem.”

Yorkshire fast bowler, James Wainman, headed down to Beeston last month, to meet the HALO team and take part in their cricket session. After introductions, the group took it in turns to bat against him and delighted in chatting about their love of cricket and even asked him for a few tips and hints.

The HALO group, most of which have never visited a professional sports ground before, are also being provided with a free stadium tour, courtesy of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation. The exclusive tour will take them behind the scenes of Emerald Headingley Stadium, giving them access to areas like player practicing nets, the museum, media centre and player changing rooms.

James Wainman said:

“It’s paramount that Yorkshire Cricket supports disability cricket. Cricket is a sport for all and it’s important that we embrace that and make it inclusive. I feel privileged that playing for Yorkshire allows me to come along to things like this and I look forward to hearing how the group progress with their new equipment and with Chris as their new coach.”

Kendal James, Community Development Officer (Leeds) at Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, commented:

“Sessions like HALO at Hamara are really important as disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive than non-disabled people. As the charity and community arm of the club, the foundation work to make a lasting impact on Yorkshire’s communities, which includes supporting the development of groups like HALO.

“I am really pleased that together we have created this fantastic opportunity for Chris and HALO. I noticed he was a massive cricket enthusiastic from the very first day I met him. It was clear to me it would be a great development opportunity for Chris’s life skills and subsequently he will be a great role model for the group. I’m looking forward to giving the group a tour of Emerald Headingley and watching them make good use of the equipment. We wish Chris all the best and are excited to continue supporting him, and the HALO group, through their cricket journey.”

Wasim Hussain, Project Officer HALO added:

“The HALO team are extremely delighted that Chris has been selected by Yorkshire Cricket to undertake a Level 1 cricket coaching qualification. Chris is a very talented individual. I Think he will do a fantastic job in coaching. We are really looking forward to working with Chris in the near future.”

To find out more about The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s Diverse Communities work or to support the work of the foundation visit www.yorkshirecricketfoundation.com.