Surrey County Cricket Club has unveiled a new scholarship programme to create new opportunities for young African-Caribbean cricketers.
The African-Caribbean Engagement (ACE) Programme will target 11-18 year old boys and girls, with the aim of breaking down barriers for the local African-Caribbean community by providing qualified cricket coaching, sports science and personal development education, equipment and travel grants to youngsters.
The programme will also offer include inspirational members from the community in a bid to create role models.
While the ambition of the programme is to further opportunities for young players to get involved with high quality cricket, there will be no parameters around the number of participants who reach a senior county level.
Programme founder, and Surrey Director of Women’s Cricket, Ebony Rainford-Brent said: “The ACE Programme is something that I am really excited about. There is no doubt that there has been a lack of engagement with the local black community in our sport for some time and now is a thrilling time to start rebuilding those links.
“This programme will be the first of its kind and it is brilliant that we can create tangible opportunities for talented young people to access high quality coaching and support, as well as reduce many of the barriers into cricket for this community.
“The links that we will build and the partnerships that we will establish will be vital to driving our future vision where we create an even richer history at the Club. There is no doubt that this vision will take time, however working collaboratively with the community, I have every faith in future success.”
The ambition of the programme is ultimately to further opportunities for young players to get involved in the club’s performance pathway, but Surrey say there will be no parameters around the number of participants who reach a senior county level.
Surrey Chief Executive Richard Gould added: “At Surrey we’re always looking for new ways to be active in the local community that has supported us so strongly through the years.
“This programme is an excellent opportunity to build a stronger connection with our African-Caribbean neighbours and also in the wider county, helping support young players who may otherwise be left behind by the game of cricket.”
In partnership with Surrey Cricket Foundation, the programme will also support local African-Caribbean clubs in developing a sustainable infrastructure and in building strong links with a range of community schemes.