"I just want to say what a great day it was at the National Street20 finals. You had over 200 kids from all over the uk engaging in sport in a safe environment, & thanks for inviting me to give a talk about drugs & knife crime. Since then I've had some really positive messages from the youngters on my web site . I also think what you are doing is fantastic as your giving these kids the opportunity to play sport and be educated at the same time and i am sure between us we changed some lives and pointed alot of them in the right direction P.S Didn't see 1 unhappy face all day the whole place was full of smiles ."
There are many stories of how Cricket for Change has changed young people’s lives, ‘Simon’s’ (age 15 from Barking and Dagenham - in 2010) is one of them.
C4C first came into contact with Simon at a cricket camp organized by Barking & Dagenham Council to keep young people off the street.
Simon arrived in the park with his mates, who were all riding their bikes but they weren’t there for the cricket. They were teasing the other kids who were taking part and shouting that they hated cricket. The C4C coach leading the session went over to Simon and his mates to ask them if they would like to take part but they told him to “**** off”.
The coach calmly said to them that the offer to ‘join in’ was still open but Simon and his friends eventually left.
However, Simon came back the next day, on his own. He went over to the coach and apologised for what happened the day before and politely asked if he could take part in the session. As the session went on, the coach asked Simon if he was sure that he did want to take part, as he was playing up a bit.
Simon then explained that he had never played cricket before but also said that he had been up all night working with his Dad. Then at the lunch break Simon asked to speak to the coach on a one to one basis. The coach sat down with him and had a long chat and in learning more about him discovered that he was a “good kid” and was crying out for support.
The coach advised him to try and stay out of trouble and if he needed anything he could get his parents’ permission to ring him. Shortly after the coaching session Simon’s Mum did get in touch and Simon has kept in touch for the last 3yrs and his attitude has been getting better and better.
The following year, Simon, was the first one at the camp and his change attitude led him to winning the award that year for the ‘Most Disciplined’ kid at the camp.
Simon is currently a member of the Barking & Dagenham ‘StreetChance’ programme and his cricket skills have developed a lot but most importantly his attitude has changed and improved massively.
Simon wants to become a cricket coach and the C4C coach said at the end of the camp (where Simon won his award) that he knows Simon is willing to do what ever it takes to accomplish his dreams.