This Saturday (9th November) a nationwide project that brings together young people, their families and communities through a shared love of cricket gets underway at the Thornbury Centre. It is funded by Spirit of 2012, who awarded £1.8million to launch the three-year-project in March 2018.

The ‘Breaking Boundaries’ City Leadership event is in its second year of running, this ground-breaking project aims to build happier, healthier communities with this weekend’s event being held in Bradford Thornbury Centre.

“The England cricket team credited their victory to the diversity and talent of their players. This diversity is only possible through the reduction of prejudice and hate crime; we need to build more cohesive communities.

Breaking Boundaries focuses on enabling local communities to feel a sense of belonging; encouraging empathy and developing long-lasting relationships,” says Arun Kang, CEO, Sporting Equals, who are helping deliver the project alongside the Youth Sport Trust.

“We designed Breaking Boundaries – a £1.8 million, three-year project (2018-2021) – to bring together young people, families and communities through regular engagement in cricket: either playing, spectating or volunteering,” says Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012.

“We’re thrilled that to date, we’ve trained around 150 community ‘Champions’ aged 14-25 who are leading the project in their locations and connecting other young people – and their families – to the game of cricket, and to each other.”

There will be five City Leadership events in total – the other four will be held in Slough, Manchester, Birmingham and Bradford – which will deliver high-quality training to young ‘Community Champions’, who will be at the forefront of the project.

“The community champions are the drivers of this programme. We will support these young people to go out and make a positive difference to their community,” Arun continues.

“We’re training them up in leadership skills as well as in understanding community cohesion, providing them with a spark to create their own projects and the capacity to become real agents for change in the areas they live in.”

“At a time when it can feel like divisions in society are growing, harnessing the power of sport to heal divisions and bring communities together is increasingly vital. This programme has the potential to make a huge, tangible and lasting difference to the lives of people in our five areas,” says Ali Oliver, CEO, Youth Sport Trust.