Sussex Cricket Foundation celebrates Crawley Urban Plan landmarks
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In June 2021 the Foundation set out its plan to grow and develop the game of cricket across Crawley over a five-year period, however at the two -year mark a number of significant landmarks have already been completed. Phases one and two of the plan was to install several non-turf pitches and a brand-new indoor cricket facility, with both already being achieved ahead of schedule.
Seven non-turf pitches have already been installed in various locations, with five more planned in the town by the start of the 2024 cricket season. This ensures that all clubs are now playing cricket back in Crawley and back in their communities.
Last week, the Foundation officially opened a brand-new indoor cricket facility at the Apple Green Centre, designed to enable clubs and community groups to play the game throughout the entirety of the year.
Speaking on the progress of the plan, Sussex Cricket Foundation Chair, Ish Jalal said: “The opening of our indoor cricket nets at Apple Tree Centre is a significate milestone in our overall Crawley Urban Cricket Plan. Providing quality cricket facilities all year round for the local community is essential to the success of our project.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone working on this project, the positive collaboration between a diverse range of stakeholders has enabled us to be ahead of schedule. We look forward to working on phase 3 and 4 of the plan which will further provide more opportunities for local cricketers and the local community to participate and enjoy our great game."
As well as working to provide new facilities for people, the Urban Plan has worked to significantly increase the opportunities for women and girls to participate in the game. When the plan was created, there was not a single recognised female team in the area. Now the Foundation is proud to say that there are three age group sides for girls, two softball sides and one social set up for women.
The Foundation also now runs a women & girls only Street Cricket club from the new facility at the Apple Green Centre. Through engagement with the local authorities, the Foundation has also been able to support hundreds of Afghan families relocated to Crawley.
Over 500 family members have been given access to full kit bags of cricket equipment such as hard and soft balls, to enable them to play the sport recreationally across different local parks and green spaces. A number of those families were also given free tickets to watch T20 and County Championship games at The 1st Central County Ground over the past two seasons, enabling some to watch their first ever live sports match and hopefully inspiring them to engage with the game.
Matt Parsons, Sussex Cricket Foundation Territory Manager for the area, said: “The Urban Plan set out to support the cricket passionate community across Crawley, whilst ensuring we continued to grow and sustain the increased demand that we have for the game, across all levels.
“As much as we’ve already done, we continue to strive for more and the last two years have helped lay the foundations for what we want to achieve, in ensuring access to cricket, regardless of what drives someone to want to engage, is there in front of them, as and when they want it.
“Crawley is an exciting and vibrant place to play cricket and the Urban Plan has put the community at the heart of everything we hope to achieve. The Urban Plan has provided us with an opportunity to listen, learn and help support everyone across Crawley and this has meant we can break down barriers and open new doors, regardless of experience”.
Investment in the area is set to continue as the plan moves into phase three, which will see a number of outdoor net facilities installed at already identified sites within Crawley, as well as the refurbishment of existing nets.
With support from the ECB, Cama Cricket Charitable Trust, Roffey Homes, Active Sussex and London Cricket Trust, the Foundation will have invested £200,000 into the area by 2024.
To read more about the Crawley Urban Plan, click here or about the work the Sussex Cricket Foundation carries out click here.
Listen and watch Gary Wallis-Tayler and Matt Parsons talk about the success of the Crawley Urban Plan so far, plus an insight into what’s to come over the next few years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkajoxVbitM