ECB Director of Women’s Cricket Clare Connor has labelled Chance to Shine’s Secondary School Girls Programme, an initiative funding cricket coaching and leadership development for girls aged 11-16, as a “pioneering project”, which is “setting a beacon for girls to be able to aspire to [leadership] opportunities”.
Connor was speaking on the day Chance to Shine revealed that the Programme, which so far has reached 1,700 girls across the country, has had a significant impact on the confidence and leadership abilities of those enrolled in the programme.
Research conducted by the Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research at Canterbury Christ Church University found that by the end of the programme there was a ‘statistically significant’ increase in the number of girls who said they were active every day (from 34% to 39.6%). This was also reflected in changing the girls’ attitudes towards the sport, with just over three quarters (78%) saying that they ‘wanted to play more cricket than before’.
Young Leaders were first trained to take on coaching responsibilities in sessions and then supported to put those skills into practice in after-school clubs and organising and leading primary school cricket festivals. The research showed statistically significant growth in the following key leadership traits:
- Confidence – ‘I feel confident’ 39% -> 45%
- Resilience – ‘If I find something difficult, I keep trying until I can do it’ 50% -> 57%
- Creativity – ‘I come up with new ideas’ 31% -> 39%
- Adaptability – ‘I try to change activities so that everyone can take part’ 44% -> 56%
“It makes you quite emotional seeing girls thriving playing cricket,” Connor said. “Focusing the attention on girls developing their leadership skills, their self confidence, their ability to communicate and be role models is a really pioneering scheme.”
“This is about the next generation of female leaders. We want women and men to have equal opportunities in the workplace, and this scheme is setting a beacon for girls to be able to aspire to these kind of opportunities.”
“Sport historically has communicated with and catered to men and boys. What Chance to Shine is doing through this programme is redressing the balance.”
The hope is that Chance to Shine can now work alongside the ECB to deliver their new strategy for women’s and girls’ cricket, Inspiring Generations, by supporting as many girls to play the sport in secondary school as possible.
However, the current Secondary School programme is at threat from a significant decrease in fund-raised income due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and may not take place next year.
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