Case Study - Blind Cricket England and Wales
Each year, the Johnners Trust provides a grant to Blind Cricket England and Wales (BCEW) to fund an annual Development Festival. The Trust also helps fund the BCEW Women and Girls Development Programme.
BCEW’s 2-day Development Festival has been running since 2011 and is staged across a September weekend at Leicester University. The Festival provides a valuable meeting ground for visually impaired cricketers of all genders to play against and, importantly, to socialise with opposition they wouldn’t normally spend time with during the year. The event also provides a valuable volunteering opportunity for sighted organisers, who do everything from driving minibuses to physically guiding players around the University.
In 2022 over 80 players took part across 7 teams, compared to 58 players in 2021. In all, 12 BCEW clubs were represented.
BCEW Development Festival 2022 report: https://bcew.co.uk/2022/09/13/johnners-trust-enables-a-winning-cricket-weekend/
The BCEW Women and Girls Development Programme is doing vital work in bringing visually impaired women & girls into regular participation in sport, as well as now looking to direct more competent players towards the new England VI squad. England will field a team at the inaugural IBSA World Games in Birmingham in 2023.
The Programme places a big emphasis on health and well-being, with BCEW reporting that participants have benefitted greatly from making new friends with those who may encounter the same obstacles as them on a daily basis. Players report improvements in their self-esteem and well-being as a result.
In 2022 around 40 players took part in women’s VI cricket sessions at the 3 centres in the North, West and South (Yorkshire, Somerset and Berkshire). Around 25 players regularly travelled to national training sessions and friendly matches. Sessions are run by qualified ECB level 2 coaches, who are visually impaired themselves. One of those coaches has gone onto the ECB advanced coaching programme.
In their own words...
“Due to public transport problems in the south west, Dorset weren't able to bring a team to the Development Festival. But I was welcomed into another group for the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was able to mix with new people and play against other teams from outside my own development area, which made the event even more interesting for me. It was just good to be back playing lots of cricket once again too, as chances have been very limited over the last two seasons.” - Steve Bailey from the Dorset Dolphins club
"The Festival was a wonderful experience and I was so pleased to have been able to help VI players from all teams, not just our own, by offering lifts in our minibus to anyone who needed them, helping out with lunches and generally guiding VI players around the venue.” - Fergal Moore, organiser for the Berkshire Stags club