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New drive to attract inner city communities to cricket

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Passion for cricket is being reignited among disadvantaged communities in Cardiff thanks to an exciting new appointment by Cricket Wales.

Less than a month into his new job as Diverse Communities’ Cricket Development Officer, Mojeid Ilyas is already breaking down participation barriers to enable more men, women and children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds to fall in love with the game.

Children in Grangetown are able to express themselves at new street cricket sessions, women’s only sessions are proving popular, and a Sunday evening inter-faith league is being established for men.

By spreading the word in cricketing circles and becoming a familiar face in the local community, Mojeid has attracted good numbers to his new sessions so far, but is only just getting started.

A group of men standing on an indoor cricket pitch


He said: “Within inner city communities in Cardiff there’s a big desire to play cricket, but unfortunately there’s not enough accessible provision. As many families within the area work long labouring hours, they don’t always have the time to be able to take their children to cricket practice in leafier parts of the city. 

“Therefore, I’m introducing street cricket to these children to give them a safe and fun environment to enjoy all of the positive benefits that come from sport.

“Due to cultural and religious reasons, many girls and women do not take part in much physical activity, so one of my major goals is to provide more appealing opportunities. Thankfully, with great help from Ayesha Rauf I’ve already managed to set up a women’s only session for ages 16+ each week at Sophia Gardens, and I’m hoping to soon be able to run year-round sessions for younger girls too.

“By visiting religious centres and engaging with different communities, I discovered a desire for Sunday night cricket among many men as the nature of their jobs, working patterns and other commitments was restricting them from playing longer forms of cricket during the daytime on weekends. The inter faith league will not only help more people to be able to play cricket but it will also help different communities to learn more about each other’s cultures.”

Mojeid added: “I’ve started in Cardiff but will soon be moving into inner city areas of Newport too. I’ll be looking to speak to as many people as possible to discover what barriers are preventing them from playing cricket. I’m also really keen to recruit plenty of volunteers, and get them on the necessary coaching courses so that all of the sessions become sustainable and run themselves.”

Mark Frost, Cricket Wales’ Community and Development Manager, said: “It’s early days, but we’re really pleased with the progress made so far as we believe there is a real opportunity to increase and sustain participation in cricket within specific communities in Cardiff and Newport. By providing a more vibrant cricket offer that suits individual’s needs, we have more chance of growing people’s motivation and ability to adopt a cricket habit for life.”

To find out more about inner city cricket opportunities in Cardiff, please contact Mojeid Ilyas by calling 07572 152241 or emailing [javascript protected email address]

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