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Although the country is in another lockdown our community coaches have been busy delivering numerous virtual sessions for schools, children learning at home as well as Super 1’s hubs and the brownies and girl guides.

Since lockdown started at the beginning of January Emily, Alex and Mark have delivered to well over 1,000 children in 30 schools through the Chance to Shine programme. These sessions have involved the key worker and vulnerable children in schools as well as children learning at home. Not only are they getting to play cricket, learn new skills and have a fantastic time they are also getting to see their friends who they haven’t seen for a long time.

The feedback from parents and teachers has been really positive. Victoria Withers at Ditcheat Primary commented that “The manner in which Mark was able to deliver key skills despite it being remote was fantastic.” Josh Liddiard at St Georges Church School said; “Despite not being in the school, Alex built a strong rapport with the children. He was very encouraging and made the sessions fun for the children.”

The coaches and children, particularly those at home have had to be adaptable as well as many don’t have cricket equipment at home. This has also gone down well with schools. “I really liked Emily’s ideas for practising at home as she took into account the fact that some may not have the proper resources – eg using socks instead of balls.” Simon Ashdown, Greenfylde School.

As well as school delivery the coaches have also been busy delivering community sessions in the evenings for the pre-existing Super 1’s hubs (sessions for young people with a disability aged 12-25) and building on our partnership with Girlguiding the coaches are currently delivering weekly sessions for girl guides across the county. After the first girl guides session one parent commented that “It was a fantastic session, really well presented and we all really enjoyed it, thank you

Before January the coaches experience of virtual delivery was limited to a few school assemblies. This presented a new challenge for them but didn’t stop them from getting stuck in and giving it a go. Alex (Taylor) said: “Its been amazing to still be able spread the power of cricket to not just children and teachers but also parents who have joined in from home as well. The schools have been fantastic and incredibly adaptable which has helped make the sessions a huge success.”

As well as face to face delivery we have also teamed up with Somerset CCC and Western Storm for a weekly ‘Pro Challenge’ where the players and coaches set a cricket skills challenge and creative challenge each week for children at school and home to have a go at. So far SCCC captain Tom Abell, Max Waller, Jack Brookes, Ben Green and Assistant Coach Paul Tweddle along with Western Storm captain Sophie Luff have set challenges including catching, throwing and batting as well as writing cricket poems, drawing Jack Leach and designing a poster advertising for the perfect team mate.

To find out more about any of the above activities please email scott.chappell@somersetcricketboard.org.