"This welcome boost from CALA Homes has enabled us to get back to pre-pandemic levels and expand the club even further."
The clubs chairman, Martin Croucher
A volunteer-run community cricket club, which has ground in both St Ives & Warboys, has said it can expand further to provide more sessions for Cambridgeshire’s cricket-lovers aged 5-80, thanks to a welcome boost from a housebuilder.
St Ives and Warboys Cricket Club has received a £1,000 grant from housebuilder CALA Homes (North Home Counties), which the club will put towards extra sessions, training and new equipment; supporting more than 200 grassroots players from across the region.
The club’s chairman, Martin Croucher, has said the funding for training courses and equipment, has been a great help in getting the club to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, following Covid and successive lockdowns.
He said: “As a volunteer-run club, our ambition is to instil a ‘cricket for all’ mentality in our communities and to get the most out of our players, regardless of age or ability.
“We support more than 200 players, ranging from young children, up to those in their 80’s. Undoubtedly, whether they’ve had to isolate as vulnerable individuals or through home-schooling, cricket and its associated benefit to the community’s mental and physical wellbeing has essentially been put on pause for the past year and a half.
“This welcome boost from CALA Homes has enabled us to get back to pre-pandemic levels and expand the club even further. We’ve been able to grow the number of female players and we’ve further diversified the ethnic backgrounds of our teams. We have also introduced cricket sessions for people with disabilities, which is a really exciting venture for the community!
“The donation has gone towards putting our new and existing coaches through initial and refresher training sessions and first aid courses, to ensure we can offer quality cricket training in a safe environment. We’ve also been able to provide more equipment for users, which will include the specific items we’ll need to provide disability cricket – including a table tennis table to introduce ‘table cricket’ for those with mobility issues.
“Fundraising from the likes of CALA is essential for our club, as it means we can continue to support more accessible grassroots cricket for the whole community, who might have felt unwelcome or unable to afford to play cricket in the past.”
The charity formed part of several other good causes across Northern Home Counties who received a share of £20,000 through CALA’s bursary scheme.
The Community Bursary initiative invites charities, voluntary organisations and community groups to apply for a share of funding from CALA, with more than 300 worthy causes now having received over £300,000 since CALA launched the initiative in 2016.
Glenn Copper, Sales & Marketing Director for CALA Homes North Home Counties, said: “The last 12 months have been particularly hard for the charity and volunteering sectors, with many seeing reduced funding at a time when local communities need their services most.
“CALA aims to make a positive and lasting contribution to the communities in which we build and that’s more important now than ever. We know that this year’s Bursary will mean a great deal to St Ives & Warboys Cricket Club and the other charities selected, and we can’t wait to follow their progress and see how the donations will make a real difference to local people.
“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply to the CALA Community Bursary this year and congratulate each and every one of them on the fantastic work they are doing within their communities.”
For further information on the CALA Homes Community Bursary, visit www.cala.co.uk/bursary.