Afghan refugees given safe space to play at Gloucestershire Cricket

10 June 2024

A group of recently resettled Afghan refugees have been given a safe space to play cricket at Gloucestershire thanks to a new partnership with the City of Bristol College.

Between 12 and 20 young people, all but one of whom are Afghan refugees, have been attending weekly cricket sessions every Wednesday afternoon at Gloucestershire’s high performance indoor cricket centre. The two-hour and completely free of charge sessions, the first of which took place in January 2024, see the group of teenagers and young adults learn new skills, form friendships and receive coaching from a range of Gloucestershire first-team players.

Led by Gloucestershire’s Head of Community, Pete Lamb, the programme has been supported by the likes of Miles Hammond, Marchant de Lange, Graeme van Buuren and David Payne, all of whom and more have supported the group by passing on their knowledge and experience for how to become a better cricketer.

It’s hoped that by providing cricket provision in an environment that inspires and encourages, the students get more enjoyment out of attending college and are more likely to achieve better results.

Speaking about the positive impact the sessions have had on the students, Kirsty Cross, Designated Lead for Children in Care and Care Leavers at the City of Bristol College, said: “The noticeable excitement and enthusiasm on the students' faces when they know it's cricket day has been a joy to see, they have become a team amongst themselves both supportive and caring of each other and this has continued inside college too.”

Having hosted around 20 weekly cricket sessions in partnership with the City of Bristol College so far, the Club hopes to build on this partnership by providing learning experiences away from cricket for the students to benefit from. The ambition is to host regular academic lessons at the Seat Unique Stadium, providing a different learning experience for the students to benefit from.

Pete Lamb, Head of Community at Gloucestershire Cricket, commented: “It’s been really rewarding to support this group of young people not only in providing them with a chance to play the game they are so passionate about, but also with supporting them in their learning needs and overall experience at college.

“It’s been an incredibly unsettling time for these young people so to provide them with the stability of weekly cricket sessions has been extremely valuable to them. We’ll continue to support the City of Bristol College with the running of weekly cricket session with a view to expanding it in the weeks and months to come.”

Miles Hammond, who supported the programme with regular coaching, said: “I could see that the guys coming along really enjoyed it and gave them a bit of a sense of community and purpose, spending time with each other. I think it’s awesome.

"It’s things like this, when there are young people who've gone through a lot and have ended up in Bristol, having someone like Pete organising a cricket club for them and a space to play sport and connect to each other, that is something to be really proud of.”

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