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Kent honours cricket’s Young Leaders
Kent honours cricket’s Young Leaders

Dozens of young cricketers from Kent made their way to Lord’s on Sunday to celebrate the level of volunteering going on in the county.

The reason they were there was to celebrate the hard work undertaken as part of the Young Leaders programme.

With guests Jamie Clifford, Chief Executive of Kent County Cricket Club and batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond in attendance, just some of Kent’s young volunteers were honoured for all the hard work they have put in over the past year.

Paul Daniels, Junior Chairman of Old Elthamians Cricket Club hosted the event and was thrilled to have seen so many youngsters throughout the county give up their time in the name of cricket:

“Each and every one of the Young Leaders have gone and done a course, got themselves skills and they have used that to volunteer in their own cricket club.”

“Collectively they have amassed a massive 3,000 hours worth of volunteering in their own community, which means more cricket can be put on for more people.”

“I am a great believer that cricket brings people of all backgrounds together and it’s the kind of place to be involved and make a difference.”

“For a young person to volunteer, sometimes it can be difficult. What the Young Leaders programme does is give them a reason to be involved and as a consequence of that, the clubs embrace them.”

“Each Young Leader has to do at least 20 hours of verified volunteering and that makes them become the lifeblood of our cricket clubs.”

The programme started in 2010 with 17 boys from Old Elthamians Cricket Club embarking on a new programme which saw them attend an ECB coaches course (young leaders or UKCC Level 1) but with the added Umpires and Scorers module as well.

This had never been considered but with funding secured for the first year, the club achieved this. The boys were asked to complete 20 hours volunteering as part of the programme and banked 350 hours over the summer of 2010.

In 2011, with discussions and input from Bromley District, the programme was extended to all Bromley Clubs and Schools and Hurstmere School became the first Bexley School to take part in the programme.

Two further modules were added for 2011, an introduction into groundmanship and a Basic Life Support First Aid course. Bromley secured funding from the Mayors Legacy fund and 100 leaders took part contributing 1,900 volunteering hours.

As a result of this, the programme won the Kent OSCA for building partnerships and was runner up in the national awards where it was confirmed Bromley District had been responsible for 20% or all national volunteering.

2012 saw the expansion of the programme with 100 leaders completing 2,400 hours with further support from the Mayors Legacy Fund and the programme went one better by winning the National OSCA.

2013 initially brought the challenge of no renewal funding from the Legacy fund but despite this, the programme has continued to flourish with another 100 leaders taking part in Metropolitan Kent and a further 30 in Tonbridge and Malling District.

The First Aid course was extended and now covers how to perform CPR in case of a cardiac arrest. Between the two groups, 3,000 volunteering hours have been completed in the most successful year yet.

Having shared in the afternoon at the home of cricket’s Nursery Pavilion along with the mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Jamie Clifford told KSN how he was pleased to see so many youngsters putting in the hours:

“It’s great to see many rewarded for a programme that formalises volunteering within the game and they can all be hugely proud of their achievements.”

“The leading lad has done over 150 volunteering hours and the hope is they all pick up the bug and get more involved with their local clubs.”

“Kent is a strong cricketing county with a place in every community and wherever you are in the county, you’re never too far from your local cricket club and they’re all run by willing volunteers.”

As Jamie Clifford remarked, employers are 73% more likely to hire a young person that have taken part in volunteering so we owe it to them to provide a opportunity to add this to their CV.

So 7,650 volunteering hours and 350 young leaders later, the programme is looking to extend into more parts of Kent in 2014 as well as taking the programme nationally providing funding and sponsorship can be found to bring this invaluable programme to our 14-16 year olds.

With that in mind, Paul Daniels is keen to roll the programme out to the whole of Kent as soon as possible:

“The Kent Cricket Board have been fantastic in giving us support and encouragement and nurturing what basically is a bunch of volunteers who have come together to make it happen.”

“There is an ambition to roll this out around Kent and there is an ambition to allow other cricket clubs and districts understand how they can utilise a Young Leaders cricket programme to increase their volunteer base.”

One of those to have been handed their award by Kent batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond was Mitchell Horne and he told KSN what the Young Leaders programme had done for him:

“This means a lot to me as you get good qualifications and you get to help other people coming through the club.”

“We’ve learnt things like CPR and the umpiring course has been really helpful as I can now help out with my little brother’s matches when they haven’t got an umpire.”

“Coming to Lord’s for this has been great and it was really good to do the tour and see the Ashes.”DBD

The programme is dedicated to Ben Daniels who was one of our first leaders in 2010 and who also stood up and pitched the programme to the Bromley Clubs in February 2011 (no mean feat for a 15 year old) and was one of the main reasons the clubs got on board with the programme back then.