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Grassroots of Sport

Posted by
12 May 2014

Recreational engagement in sport reached a peak of activity following the success of London 2012, with British success in a range of disciplines leading to record numbers of people engaging in new sports.

At the same time, sport's governing bodies - which receive annual grants from Sport England, the UK body which funds grassroots sport - began a Payment for Results scheme, meaning the mandate to increase recreational engagement into sports was crucial to ensure future access to non-professional games.

Last month, Sport England announced a number of cuts to recreational sport programmes, the most public of which was £1.6million for the Football Association. Sport England funding is dependant upon a consistent level of participation in the recreational game and most sports, over a period of 12 months, had seen a drop in the level of participation.

The latest round of cuts is the outcome of the first Payment for Results review of all sport governing bodies with a recreational sport mandate and the number of people playing football has reduced from 2.02 million to 1.84 million since 2005.

Other sports facing cuts included golf, netball, rowing, hockey and mountaineering - however, despite a small decrease in play over the last year, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) did not suffer a reduction in funding.

The ECB were able to demonstrate to Sport England a programme to increase numbers in the non-professional game; leagues like the Sellick Partnership Manchester Professionals Cricket League (MPCL) help contribute to the numbers of people playing sport each week.

A study by the ECB in 2013 found that 1.7 million people play recreational cricket in the UK each year, and 3/4 of a million of those people said they would like to play more regularly. The ECB grassroots team have a committment to increase the potential for as many people as possible to play cricket each week and are committed to supporting any opportunities to get new people playing cricket more regularly.

Sellick Partnership's MPCL was founded on the basis of Jo Sellick's passion for sport and networking. Each year it brings together over 20 Manchester based teams from the likes of Hill Dickinson, Deloitte and EY, playing competitive matches over 10 weeks each spring.

Players enjoy the opportunity to play cricket, compete with professional peers and also to relax with colleagues. Leagues such as this one help to ensure engagement with sports that might otherwise be left behind after leaving full-time education, and which in turn ensures that government funding is committed to recreational games.

Sellick Partnership also runs a football league in Manchester and the Midlands. If your organisation has a group of sport enthusiasts who would be committed to playing cricket or football in these leagues, contact Anna Gibbons on 0161 8341642 to get involved. Cricket and football will be judged again on results at the end of the year so every team entered will contribute to the on-going funding for these sports.

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