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Kent Cricket’s community team have helped recreational clubs in the county receive £1.2m in funding through government, Sport England and ECB initiatives

Cricket clubs in Kent have secured over £1m in funding since the coronavirus crisis struck.

The first half of the Kent Cricket League and the Kent Regional Cricket League season has been scrapped and half a season of games will be played from July 11, in a best-case scenario. The worst would be to cancel the whole 2020 season.

Minster up against The Mote at Gilbert Hall Picture: Sean Aidan
Minster up against The Mote at Gilbert Hall Picture: Sean Aidan

With a loss of income, recreational cricket clubs have had to apply for funding to get them through the usually busy period.

Kent Cricket’s community team have been working directly with cricket clubs across the county to ensure that they have been able to access information and funding opportunities, specifically designed to help see them through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A report from Kent Cricket has revealed that 250 recreational clubs across Kent have received a combined total of £1.2 million in grant funding.

The bulk of that has come from the government’s business rates relief grants which has helped clubs to the tune of £1m. Sport England have provided £180,000 in relief while the England and Wales Cricket Board have chipped in with an additional £20,000.

Kent’s director of community cricket, Andy Griffiths, said: “Over the last few months, we have been focussed on engaging directly with clubs across the county, to ensure they have understood the financial options available to them and how to access all opportunities, to support them through this crisis.

“We have spoken directly to 250 clubs and know that over £1.2m has been secured to support their running costs whilst there is no play. It is a phenomenal amount of money into the county’s recreational game but essential to secure many clubs' futures.

“This time of year, clubs would be expecting to receive subscriptions, match fees and bar takings. Whilst clubs are not receiving income, they still have expenditure costs to keep the club running, so this funding will certainly help them to continue to operate whilst we are in this period of uncertainty.

“We are encouraged by recent steps taken by our governing body to get people in cricket clubs active once again, with the updated guidance on small group training and the release of the roadmap for the return of recreational cricket.

“However, there are still many people who love the game that are unable to access training facilities. At Kent Cricket we have a role to play to engage players and volunteers to keep that passion alive.

“The cricketing community in Kent has been fantastic throughout this time of adversity. This was highlighted last month, by the Rainbow Run. Clubs were asked to join Kent Cricket in a charity run to raise funds for Kent-based hospitals’ Covid-19 appeals, which was a huge success across the county, raising close to £15,000.

“We have been working on several initiatives over the last few weeks and working in partnership with the ECB and Kent ACO, we have created a challenge for clubs across Kent, which will engage with the network’s competitive spirit!

“ECB recently released a free online version of the Stage 1 Umpiring course, which has already seen over 3,000 sign ups nationally. In Kent, we will set a challenge to clubs to see who can get the most members signed up and through the course over the coming weeks.

“These are clearly challenging times for everyone and the game is not immune from the financial pressures created by the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to work with clubs to navigate a route through this crisis and ensure that community cricket in the county of Kent is able to flourish once again. It is hugely reassuring that Clubs have been able to access this financial support at a time of such uncertainty.”

Community clubs have been giving back too, with several 'braving the shave' to raise funds for the NHS.

Bearsted Cricket Club members, with help from Kent Cricket, also recently raised a considerable amount for Brain Tumour Research.

More: Kent leagues scrap promotion and relegation for 2020

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