New cricket pitches are being created in Coventry parks and open spaces in a partnership between Coventry City Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
A grant of over £120k from the ECB will see seven non-turf cricket pitches and a five lane cricket net facility developed in local parks across the city.
The pilot project is part of the build up to European City of Sport 2019, which has attracted additional funding to fund a community cricket co-ordinator. The pitches will be used all year round by local people. They are linked to the ECB strategy, Cricket Unleashed – and it is hoped they will be enjoyed by families and friends turning up to enjoy an informal game as well as clubs who will use them for matches.
Longford Park, Hearsall Common, Stoke Heath, Charterhouse fields, Xcel Leisure Centre, Coundon Hall Park and War Memorial Park will all get non-turf wickets with plans for Edgewick Park to have a new five lane cricket net facility. The locations were decided following consultation with local cricket clubs and based on areas of greatest need.
Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, Kamran Caan, said: “We’re really proud to be working with the ECB to make cricket more accessible to the people of Coventry.
“The project isn’t just about providing the pitches, it’s also about making the equipment available and working with community groups to encourage them to give it a go. In the last 25 years, Coventry has lost over 20 pitches and this project is a great start in encouraging people across the city to be able to try the sport and become more active in the run up to City of Sport 2019.”
The new cricket activator will be encouraging groups who might not have enjoyed cricket before – including women and people from disadvantaged communities – to give the sport a go.
Cllr Abdul Khan, Deputy Leader said, “This is great news for cricket and great news for our parks. We know local people enjoy spending time with family and friends in our parks and these pitches will be another reason to stay longer and enjoy some outdoor fun.”
Ged McDougall, ECB, said: “This has been a great partnership with Coventry City Council in creating new spaces for people to enjoy playing the game of recreational and social cricket in the city. We hope that many residents benefit from the top quality installations in the parks around the city."