Millions of primary school children in England and Wales will have the opportunity to play and learn through cricket, thanks to a major increase in ECB’s funding to Chance to Shine.

From October 2017, the national governing body for cricket will double its annual donation to the children’s cricket charity from £1.25 million to at least £2.5 million.  

This new investment – combined with continued support from commercial sponsors, private individuals, charitable trusts and foundations – means Chance to Shine is aiming to expand its annual reach from approximately 300,000 primary school children to more than 500,000 from the school year 2017/18.

Professional cricket coaches funded by the charity will introduce the game to some two million children directly over the next four years, with Chance to Shine reaching many more indirectly through a new package of support for school teachers.  

The ECB’s new partnership with Chance to Shine links in with Cricket Unleashed, the new framework for cricket in England and Wales.

Cricket Unleashed commits the sport to inspire more people and families to play and follow cricket, and to take the game into new places and communities.  

The agreement sets out to capitalise on new interest in the sport ignited by a series of major international events in England and Wales including the ICC Champions Trophy and Women’s World Cup in 2017, culminating in the biggest summer in the history of the game in 2019 with the ICC World Cup and a home Ashes series.  

In an additional funding boost, ECB will provide a new match fundraising opportunity of up to £500,000 each year as an extra incentive to the charity’s donors to sustain and increase their support.

Over the next five years, the charity is aiming to substantially increase its private fundraising to support the expansion of its programmes, and the match funding opportunity is conditional on Chance to Shine meeting its annual fundraising targets.  

Matt Dwyer ECB Director of Participation and Growth said, “Today’s announcement means that we will develop an even stronger partnership with Chance to Shine – working together to introduce more children to cricket and encouraging closer links with local clubs.  

"We believe cricket is uniquely placed to enrich the lives of young people, whether that be through the development of nine of the 10 fundamental movements skills, the fact that we are the only sport that incorporates our values into the official rules of the game or the fact that cricket can deliver so many in-class curriculum outcomes.

"Cricket has the ability to inspire kids in our communities in a way like no other and we will do that together with Chance to Shine."  

Luke Swanson, Chance to Shine Chief Executive added, “Our vision is that all young people have the opportunity to play and learn through cricket. That’s easy to say but very hard to achieve; this new long-term commitment from ECB provides the most tremendous boost to getting us there.  

“It will dramatically expand cricket’s presence in primary schools at a time of great excitement and potential for the game. It will enhance the support that we give teachers to enrich playing and learning. And above all it will give millions of young people their first experience of a fun, inclusive, active team sport that we hope will become a lifelong habit and passion.”  

ECB and Chance to Shine have agreed three core objectives for the new primary schools programme: to give young people (aged five – 11) a great first experience of cricket; to support teachers to build a sustainable culture of cricket in state schools; and to help young people to play regularly and learn key life skills.     

Over the next 12 months ECB and Chance to Shine will co-develop the new primary schools programme.

It will be delivered in partnership with the 39 County Cricket Boards in England & Wales and will include an introductory skills course for primary school children, delivered by professional cricket coaches; training and support materials for teachers; resources for cricket-themed classroom learning; schools competitions; and practical support for young people to continue playing the game in school, club, community and casual settings.  

In addition to the increased funding, ECB will also provide the charity with opportunities to capitalise on international events, game day experiences, digital resources and player appearances including the ongoing partnership with the England Women’s cricket team.  

Since 2005, Chance to Shine has brought cricket and its educational benefits to nearly 12,000 state schools and to more than three million young people, including approximately 1.5 million girls. Find out more at chancetoshine.org