Coaching & PE, Fitness & Health

Taking to the streets

Set up three years, ago the StreetChance initiative uses cricket to engage young people from a range of backgrounds in areas affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

The initiative initially ran at schools, sports halls and community centres in 10 London boroughs, but has since expanded to 15 London boroughs and spread to parts of Birmingham and Dewsbury in West Yorkshire.

Its key focus is the teens involved in inner city “postcode gangs” and workers go into schools and estates to promote the project and encourage eight- to 18-year-olds to join in.

StreetChance uses Street 20, a quick, easy to play and accessible version of cricket that involves limited equipment.

It is based on tape-ball cricket, which is widely played in Pakistan and South Africa, and uses a tennis ball covered in tape that makes it behave like a cricket ball but without the risk of damage to people or property.

It has been formalised as a competitive game, Street 20 which is even more hectic than Twenty 20, with each each innings comprising just 20 balls.

Everyone bats, bowls and games and Street 20 can be played anywhere with a flat surface.

A report by academics from Loughborough University in 2009 concluded that StreetChance was encouraging discipline and tolerance and helping to re-connect previously marginalised school pupils.

A team of Afghan refugees won last year’s “Street20” half-term senior competition for 14- to 18-year-olds and while there are no hard figures for its impact on crime reduction, Mark Johnson, a Southwark police inspector, says: “The local community say there are fewer instances of antisocial behaviour while the sessions are running.”

Find out more about StreetChance

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1 Comment

  1. Monex says

    …There is a particular joy in playing cricket at an unorganised level where you interact with individuals from vastly different backgrounds each one of whom is a character in the truest sense of the term possessing uniquely homespun technique. The result is usually hard fought cricket with plenty of arguments some of which turn ugly. Street cricket is an attractive spectator sport simply because it throws up great contests which arent high quality skirmishes but comedies of error.

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