England cricketers Sophie Ecclestone and Chris Woakes have written a letter to more than 150,000 kids around the country about the positive role cricket can play in their lives.
The pair hope to inspire children to get active again after lockdown – and surprised pupils at their old schools by reading out the letters which explained what inspired them to get into cricket.
In the letters, sent to all schools that deliver Chance to Shine, men’s World Cup-winner Woakes and Ecclestone, the number one IT20 bowler in the world, detail their own experiences of playing when younger, and the benefits it brought them – from physical health to having fun with their friends.
To help parents encourage their children to become more active, the ECB has launched Dynamos Cricket, a new programme for 8-11 girls and boys of all abilities.
Find out more about Dynamos Cricket! | Sign up to All Stars Cricket
Ecclestone, who will play for Manchester Originals in this summer’s The Hundred, explained: “While I was growing up, playing cricket and getting outside were a constant source of fun and relaxation for me, and have continued to play a crucial role in my life.
“I’d hate to have had that taken away for one week, let alone a whole year, so I can only imagine what kids have been going through in lockdown.
“I loved revisiting my old school to talk to the kids about it all – especially the girls – and chat about the positive impact sport can have on their mental and physical health, because it is such an important message. It is why getting kids back outside and active is so important.”
Birmingham Phoenix seamer Woakes, who has two young daughters, added: “It has been such a tough year for kids all over the country, and we have to do all that we can to help them. They’ve been separated from their friends and they haven’t had the opportunity to get outside and live active lives as they normally would.
“This has to change. I have personally benefitted hugely from exercise and cricket over the years, and I just want kids to be able to have that opportunity too. We all stand to lose out if they are denied it. As a kid, I’d have loved to have something like Dynamos and after the year we’ve had I hope it will offer lots of fun for kids and parents alike this summer.”
According to the Sport England Active Lives Survey 2019/20, nearly a third of children and young people (2.3m) are doing less than an average of 30 minutes a day – with activity levels lowest for school Years 3-4 (ages 7-9) – impacting on their overall well-being.
Parents can find out more about Dynamos Cricket and register their children to take part at dynamoscricket.co.uk. They can also sign up their younger kids up to All Stars Cricket at www.allstarscricket.co.uk
For more information about The Hundred and ticket access visit www.thehundred.com
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