Disadvantaged young people in two east London boroughs will get the chance to use cricket as a vehicle to improve their lives.
The charity Capital Kids Cricket will run cricket sessions and other activities aimed at children excluded from school, refugees and asylum seekers in Newham and Waltham Forest.
It hopes the scheme will help young people from Pupil Referral Units across the two boroughs get back into mainstream education and develop skills to help them get on in life.
Meanwhile, programmes running with young refugees and asylum seekers are aimed at helping them settle into London life and improve their academic and work prospects.
The programmes are funded by a £250,000 grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.
City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said: “The work this charity is doing in east London will help two very different groups of young people, all of whom face significant barriers to fulfilling their potential.
“Apart from the physical and mental health benefits of taking part in sport, they will receive potentially life-changing support which will stand them in good stead as they move into adulthood.”
Alongside weekly two-hour cricket programmes, the scheme is also expected to include English language classes, life skills workshops and residential trips.
Capital Kids Cricket Operations and Development Manager Joe Fisher said: “Team sport in general is very good for developing life skills and with cricket, when you’re standing at the crease, you’re on your own, so you learn things like taking responsibility, showing leadership and working as part of a team.
“One of the biggest things we see is a growth in confidence for these young people and a feeling that they’re a part of the community they live in and the wider society.
“Coming to our sessions also means they feel they have somewhere they can get additional support from, whether it’s for improving their English or developing skills to help them achieve at school or college, or in the workplace.”
The City Bridge Trust grant will also fund the continuation of a programme running at the Chelsea Community Hospital School, which offers cricket sessions and other activities to help young people experiencing severe mental health issues.
Capital Kids Cricket was founded in 1989 to boost participation in the sport in schools, and works to improve the physical, social and emotional development of disadvantaged children and young people in the most deprived areas of London. More information is at www.ckc.london