Frenchay Cricket Club is to expand its award-winning work in schools after joining forces with local firm Elite Tyre and Autocare.
The garage – which has depots in Thornbury and Yate – will help fund coaching, club open days and equipment to support the club’s already burgeoning junior section.
The partnership is believed to be the first of its type in the county.
It was officially launched last month by England Women’s star Fran Wilson.
Frenchay CC youth coordinator Jim Donaldson said: “We have run a very successful Chance to Shine project in our local schools for a number of years but with the Gloucestershire Cricket Board (GCB) rightly expanding the number of clubs involved in the programme, we felt we needed to find our own sponsorship in order to keep it going on the same scale.
“The director of Elite Tyres and Autocare Luke Higton had a link with the club because his son used to play here and when we approached him about a possible partnership he was delighted to be able to help out.”
Frenchay was named as cricket charity Chance to Shine’s Project of the Year in 2015 for its work encouraging more children to play the game – particularly girls and people with a disability.
The fruits of the successful scheme were showcased at the launch of the new partnership – a kwik cricket tournament featuring six teams from five local primaries. The umpires and scorers were four of Frenchay’s older girls – Georgie Hunt, Molly Bliss, Amy Patterson and Katie Padfield – who first got into cricket through the project and have since progressed on to the county squads.
The competition was played at Frenchay Common, the club’s original ‘home’ of the Club, and the space coaches use when working with Frenchay C of E school during the summer.
The partnership with Elite Tyre and Autocare will allow the club to keep developing its girls’ section by running coaching sessions in schools, including Frenchay C of E, Bromley Heath Juniors, St Augustine’s RC Primary, and Winterbourne International Academy.
It will also help the club increase the number of members joining it’s the under sevens.
Jim said: “We are keen to do more coaching in our local schools with the younger ones. Not only does it get them into cricket at a young age but it has been really successful in getting more families involved in the club.
“Since we started coaching in schools through Chance to Shine we have seen a lot more engagement with the local community and this is something we want to keep going.”
GCB projects and programme manager Chris Munden, who coordinates Gloucestershire’s coaching in schools, said: “Frenchay have done a fantastic job in getting children excited about cricket in school and encouraging them to join the club. They are is a shining example of the benefits of running a Chance to Shine programme and are reaping the benefits with numbers up year on year.
“By thinking outside of the box and forming a partnership with a local company they have helped safeguard the future of their junior section and hopefully other clubs will follow their example.”
Pictured are (l to r) Fran Wilson (England, Middlesex, Western Storm and Chanceto Shine Coaching Ambassador), Luke Higton (Director of Elite Tyre and Autocare), children from Frenchay C of E Primary School, Gareth Dawson (GCB Community Coach) and Steve Woodsford (Chairman of Frenchay Cricket Club