A significant step towards inclusive cricket was achieved as the Mayor of Fingal, Councillor Adrian Henchy launched Cricket4All Guidelines. The Guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort between Fingal County Council and Cricket Leinster aimed at fostering inclusivity and intergenerational engagement within the sport of cricket.
The Guidelines were developed following a joint initiative that piloted a multi-ability, intergenerational project in Balbriggan and Skerries which saw the participation of 136 young people with disabilities and older individuals. The coaching provided during the project created an environment where cricket became accessible to all, regardless of age or ability. These modified formats of the game not only encouraged diverse age and ability groups to play together but also facilitated inclusive participation within the same team.
The highlight of the pilot was Fingal’s Inaugural Cricket4All Competition held during Fingal Inclusion Week, where intergenerational teams showcased their skills, camaraderie and indeed competitiveness.
Launching the guidelines Mayor of Fingal Cllr Adrian Henchy commented, “inclusivity isn’t just about breaking down barriers, it is about building bridges that connect generations, abilities and backgrounds. The importance of connecting generations cannot be overstated, as opportunities for interactions between age groups are becoming increasingly scarce. However, within these intergenerational connections lie knowledge and experience as well as different views and perspectives to be shared. Cricket4All provides a unique opportunity for two groups, often on the periphery of traditional sporting activities, to come together and thrive.”
Speaking about the project, the Chief Executive of Fingal, AnnMarie Farrelly commented, “Fingal County Council is committed to enhancing the quality of life for its residents by fostering community engagement and inclusive projects that reflect the diversity of the region. The Cricket4All initiative is a testament to Fingal’s dedication to promoting sports as a means of connection and empowerment. The intergenerational and inclusive nature of Cricket4All goes beyond the boundaries of sports. It offers an avenue for connection between different generations, fostering understanding and appreciation of differences.”
The benefits derived from participation in the Cricket4All project were far-reaching. In addition to promoting ‘fun’ as an integral element, the initiative enhanced physical well-being, fine motor skills, literacy, numeracy, and communication skills. Participants also experienced increased self-esteem and confidence, fostering sporting attitudes, teamwork, and social interactions. The inclusion of both older and younger individuals within intergenerational teams provided an opportunity for the exchange of wisdom, support, practical skills, enthusiasm, and energy.
The project’s impact extended beyond the field, attracting volunteers who eagerly participated in coaching courses and disability awareness training, further enriching the community spirit of the initiative.
Philip Smith, General Manager, Cricket Leinster remarked that, “this collaboration with Fingal County Council on the Cricket4All initiative underscores Cricket Leinster’s commitment to making cricket an accessible and welcoming sport for all individuals. The Guidelines will be a valuable resource for cricket clubs, schools, active retirement groups and organisations working with young people with disabilities or anybody wishing to play Cricket4ll.”
Support from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) Disability Awareness Fund 2021 was instrumental in bringing this project and the publication of the Cricket4All Guidelines to fruition.
Source: Fingal County Council