PM Unveils Multi-Million Pound Boost for Grassroots Cricket

  • £35 million package to deliver the construction of 16 new cricket domes in cities due to host Women's T20 World Cup in 2026 and Men's T20 World Cup in 2030
  • Funding to also help extend England and Wales Cricket Board's primary and secondary schools programme to get over 900,000 young people into playing cricket over next five years, including 80,000 children with special educational needs
  • Includes £14 million towards accessible cricket, including for children with special education needs and disabilities and for young people of African and Caribbean heritage.
  • Announcement marks latest part of unprecedented Government investment in grassroots sport and drive to get 1 million more young people active by 2030

The investment, to be delivered over the next five years during which England and Wales will host the 2026 ICC Women's T20 World Cup, includes a major capital programme that will see 16 state-of-the-art all-weather cricket domes built outdoors within host cities across England.

These will allow for participation in cricket throughout the year, connecting school, community and talent programmes. Each dome will be built within diverse communities where figures have indicated low levels of physical activity. It follows the first cricket dome opened by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in Bradford.

The Government's investment will also deliver an extension to the ECB and Chance to Shine charity's free, in-school cricket programme for every single school child in inner-city locations within the ICC Women's T20 World Cup host cities across England. This will have a particular emphasis on children from lower socio-economic groups building on existing investment from Sport England.

As part of this funding, £14 million will go to three charities. Chance to Shine is dedicated to delivering accessible cricket into schools and local communities, Lord's Taverners have a focus on access to cricket provision for children with special education needs and disabilities, and ACE engage young people of African and/or Caribbean heritage.

The total investment is expected to deliver around 2,500 pieces of new equipment to every school involved in the programme, and help to get 930,000 pupils playing cricket over the next five years.

The news coincides with the start of the men's County Championship season today, the imminent start of the summer term when cricket is traditionally played in schools, and comes while the England Women are competing against New Zealand and ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup being hosted by the UK and Ireland in 2030.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said:

I first experienced the magic of cricket watching Hampshire play at my local ground in Southampton as a child.

For young people watching their first match today, the draw of getting outside and enjoying the game is just as strong, particularly as we look forward to hosting the Women's and Men's T20 World Cups.

There remains huge potential to grow the sport even further and open it up to everyone, from all backgrounds and in all parts of the country, building on the great work of organisations such as ACE and Chance to Shine.

That is why I am so proud we are making a major £35 million investment in grassroots cricket today, to widen participation in schools, encourage health lifestyles and provide world class, all-year-round facilities for local communities.

ECB Chair Richard Thompson said:

We are delighted by this investment from the Government. It's our ambition that cricket becomes the most inclusive sport in the country and that starts by giving children the chance to play from an early age and from whatever background or community they come from.

It is vital that cricket is available in as many state schools across England and Wales as possible, and across diverse communities. This support from Government represents a seminal moment in enabling the game to invest significantly in areas that up until now have not had the support they deserve.

Cricket is a diverse sport and our game has a unique reach across the UK's population. Hosting both a women's and a men's Cricket World Cup between 2026 and 2030, and the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics for the first time in almost 130 years, gives us a platform to reach more young people than ever before and we're really excited about that as a game.

England Men's cricketer James Anderson said:

I know from first-hand experience that accessing cricket from a state school is not always the easiest route into the game, so it's fantastic to hear that today's announcement will support state school students.

Chance To Shine, Lord's Taverners and the ACE Programme all play a huge role in helping to take cricket to young people. It's important that they are supported by the ECB and the Government in delivering their programmes across England and Wales, and I'm sure today's announcement will help bring more young people into cricket.

Today's news follows the publication of the Government's sport strategy last year, which set out a blueprint to improve the nation's health and fitness, unprecedented government funding for grassroots sport facilities and the opening up of access to school sport across the country.

The Sport Strategy set out an ambition to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030, including one million young people. This includes people of all ages and backgrounds, with a focus on improving participation among the least active. Former England Rugby Union international Ugo Monye, former Lioness Jill Scott MBE and Olympic gold medalist Daley Thompson CBE are part of a National Physical Activity Taskforce which is advising the Government on how to achieve this ambition.

The Government is investing over £400 million in grassroots facilities across the UK, including in multi-sport facilities, swimming pools, park tennis courts and football pitches prioritised for women and girls, to ensure communities across the country have access to high quality, safe facilities. To date, this has built, upgraded or maintained over 4,500 facilities.

This is alongside investment of over £600 million across academic years 2023/24 and

2024/25 for the PE and Sport Premium which is designed to help children get an active start in life.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

We are sticking to our plan to get millions more people active by 2030, with continued historic investment in grassroots sport.

Cricket brings people together right across the country, and this investment will help grow the game in schools and communities across England, giving thousands of young people the chance to take up the sport - and build new start-of-the art all-weather facilities.

It will be focused in areas that need it most, attract new people into the sport and support our ambitious target to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030.

Whilst schools will continue to decide which sports they offer so that they can meet the needs of their pupils, cricket is included in the National Curriculum as an example of a sport that can provide important elements of the PE National Curriculum programme of study in Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4. Cricket is also included on the list of activities suitable for assessing students' skills as part of their physical education GCSE qualification.


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