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£35m boost for grassroots cricket includes plans for 16 all weather domes

The funding package will also enable an extension to the ECB and Chance to Shine’s in-school cricket partnership (Image: ECB)

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced a £35 million investment in grassroots cricket facilities and widening access to the sport within state schools, enabling over 900,000 young people to play cricket over the next five years.

The investment includes a major capital programme that will see 16 indoor cricket domes built across England.

The domes are covered and wind-protected and 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 in Bradford in November last year. The other domes will be built in cities acting as hosts to the high-profile tournaments set to be held in England over the next six years – the 2026 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and the 2030 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The funding package will also enable an extension to the ECB and Chance to Shine’s in-school cricket partnership. This will have a particular emphasis on children from lower socio-economic groups, and ensure that every school child in inner-city locations from across the 16 World Cup host cities will access the programme.

A further investment to the charity Lord’s Taverners will have a focus on access to cricket provision for 80,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities.

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

In addition, the ACE Programme will receive additional funding to support their work in reconnecting the Black community with cricket.

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 healthy lifestyles and provide world class, all-year-round facilities for local communities.”

ECB Chair Richard Thompson added: “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 and SEND 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.”

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