"‘I’m still buzzing from today – please thank Mike for setting this up. He is doing an amazing job with those kids’ (after attending a Rugby for Change session at a PRU with Mike Henderson, one of our Development Coaches)"
Alex Tells All!
Here, Alex Bassan, Cricket for Change Coach and Apprenticeship (Pictured above on the right) graduate tells us his story:
How did you hear about Cricket For Change (C4C) and what's your background?
I came across Cricket for Change through Danny Baker, C4C Training Officer where I play cricket at Beddington CC and have done ever since I was 8 and Danny was my cricket manager until I was 15. Couple of years later, talking to Danny he brought up Cricket for Change and I showed an interest in coaching cricket. I came along to one of Danny’s coaching sessions and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect the session was a MLD (Moderate Learning Difficulties) session, and this was the first time I experienced working with kids with a disability.
Why was Cricket For Change a good charity in your life?
I started to find myself at the Cricket Centre (in Wallington, Surrey) more often, when they had competitions on, training sessions or even helping to clean the centre and general jobs and when I was there I really felt like I was part of the team.
At the time this was a big help for me, I was at a safe place working even though I was earning any money from this, I was learning valuable life skills, I was learning to communicate with people. I had to talk to people I couldn’t just stand there and not say anything, people would ask me questions and if I didn’t know I kept thinking that people would just see me as a kid.
This also helped me to mature more I was around older people and now I had some more responsibilities and in many ways C4C helped me grow up and act more responsible.
How did you get on the Apprenticeship and what’s it all about?
I heard about the Apprenticeship through Danny at C4C. He came to me and said there was an Apprenticeship scheme where C4C were taking on some mainstream and young disabled guys and help them get there cricket qualifications and help them with any problems they have or may face.
As soon as I heard this I jumped at the situation and couldn’t wait to start. I already had my Level 1 and not long after I did my Level 2 qualification and started going out on my own and coaching in schools and started running my own StreetChance programme.
This is when I started to earn some money and when doing so I started to learn the value of it and started spending wisely.
Once they Apprenticeship finished we had a graduation and I was so proud of what I have achieved, I was running my own programmes helping other apprentices and being a role model for them.
I understood quite quickly what the Apprenticeship was all about. It’s not there to hand it to you on a plate but if you work hard on the Apprenticeship scheme and put the time and effort in, it can offer you so much. It’s giving young people like me the chance to make something of ourselves and really show what we can do.
In school I wasn’t the most academic and I mucked around in lessons and didn’t really care but the C4C Apprenticeship scheme really opened up opportunities for me and gave me that chance to make a difference.
Where did you go from the App and what kind of work are you doing now?
After the Apprenticeship finished Cricket for Change offered me a full time job as a Development coach. When they asked I jumped at the chance and knew that my hard worked paid off.
My job responsibilities include running 3 different Streetchance programs including Brent, Hounslow and Kensington and Chelsea. I also run a Hit The Top program for West Middlesex which includes going into schools and running clubs in the Boroughs. I also run the Middlesex VI (Visual Impairment), MLD and PAN county squads.
Through my work I have had the opportunity to travel abroad and I am going to Sri Lanka in February 2010 to help train some child soldiers into sport peer leaders. In July 2010 we are going to Jamaica and taking the VI Pirates team again accompanied by an MLD team to play the Jamaican national competition in both VI cricket and MLD cricket matches.
Ambitions for 2010?
My ambitions for 2010 are to have strong Middlesex VI, MLD and PAN disability squads. This would be a big achievement for me because I have worked with the Surrey teams since I started and only knowing a few of the Middlesex team players and having to start pretty much from new. Also I would like to have all 3 of my StreetChance projects up and running strongly and have a senior and junior teams turning up to every comp.
Funniest / Most memorable moment so far at Cricket for Change.
There are quite a few funny and memorable moments at C4C but the couple that stick in my mind are;
Once when we had an Apprenticeship meeting and we had about 15 minuets to kill. At this time Elliot was learning to drive so he asked Steven King if he could drive around the car park in his car and so he did. I told Steven that I too was learning to drive and as the a brilliant actor that I am Steven believed me.
Not having a clue what to do I managed to drive the car forward, then I had to reverse it. That’s where it all went wrong. I started reversing it slowly and when it came to breaking I panicked pushed down the accelerated and we went screaming backwards and over a 3 foot drop. With the car hanging half way over this drop we slowly got out and called people out. As the rain started to come, the apprentices that were there pushed and pulled to get the car up and 45 minuets after the incident the car was back in the right place and I was shamed for life.
Why should people be involved in C4C and namely the Apprenticeship scheme?
The Apprenticeship scheme at Cricket for Change offers young people a chance to make a difference to their lives and other people’s lives. It’s a great opportunity to learn and create new ideas and put them into practice.
You don’t have to be a massive cricket fan to be on the Apprenticeship scheme, there are guys on the scheme who came onto it not knowing anything about cricket but they are valued the same and do the same amount of work but not necessarily cricket orientated.
The Apprenticeship scheme opened so many doors for me and gave me the chance to show my full potential and has done so for so many people. I worked hard to get to where I am but without the Apprenticeship scheme this wouldn’t have happened.