Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association
Gooch donation inspires PCA delivery of education to all professional squads
The PCA is delivering Alcohol Awareness sessions to players across the country to create a greater understanding of how to positively develop their relationship with alcohol whilst aiding inclusivity.
The workshops form part of the Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP) run by the PCA for the players and follows on from previous key priority sessions covered in recent years such as gambling awareness, sexual consent, social media and drive safely workshops.
The sessions that are being delivered throughout 2023 were planned following detailed analysis of ongoing mental health research and referral data produced by the PCA and the players’ charity, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.
Every men’s county squad, women’s region and England squad will receive a session from B5 Consultancy founder and former professional footballer, Fraser Franks due to Graham Gooch leading on a donation from his Scholarship and the Essex Cricket Foundation.
B5 Consultancy were successfully appointed by the PCA to deliver these sessions due to their professional and player led approach. Run by lawyer Matt Himsworth alongside Franks, the company works with businesses to create a culture which is risk averse, respectful and defensive through education, strategic advice and player care.
Former Luton Town and Newport County defender Franks has delivered 11 sessions so far, hosting the absorbing workshops through drawing on experiences from his career in professional sport.
At the age of 28, Franks was diagnosed with a heart condition and forced to retire from football. With no plan for the future, his relationship with alcohol was becoming a burden to himself and his family.
“It’s very important that players are educated on these subjects because one thing can lead to another with alcohol which could end up in a downhill spiral.”
Now an ambassador for Alcohol Change UK, the 32-year-old speaks to the players about his own struggles with alcohol, how to develop a positive relationship with the substance and the benefits of sobriety.
These sessions have been made possible thanks to a generous donation of £30,000 from the Graham Gooch Scholarship alongside the Essex Cricket Foundation to the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.
The organisations requested funding to be ring-fenced for education with a portion of the donation also being spent on producing this year’s Rookie Camp, which was attended by a record 67 young professional cricketers.
With no funding partner, the Trust is extremely grateful for the donation which isn’t the first time that Graham Gooch, former President of the PCA, has donated to the Trust. Previous gambling awareness courses were also funded by the former England captain’s scholarship.
Gooch witnessed the most recent Alcohol Awareness session held at Essex’s home ground of Chelmsford and was impressed by Fraser Franks and the engagement of the Eagles’ squad.
PCA Director of Member Services, Ian Thomas, said: “Educating players on the subject of alcohol is fundamental to ensuring that cricket is a sport for all.
“At the PCA we recognise that alcohol can play a part in the lives of male and female players across the country, so by prioritising this education we hope members can learn how to have a healthy relationship with alcohol and ensure their performance on the pitch and their relationships at home are not affected by the substance.
“Fraser’s sessions are thoughtful, personal and expertly delivered and I would like to thank the Graham Gooch Scholarship alongside the Essex Cricket Foundation for enabling us to provide these vital workshops.”
Former PCA President and England captain, Graham Gooch, said: “It’s very important that players are educated on these subjects because one thing can lead to another with alcohol which could end up in a downhill spiral.
“Hopefully the players that were here today might relate to some of the things that Fraser said and recognise that they can make themselves a better sportsperson and a better person.
“The Foundation and my scholarship supported the gambling awareness courses a few years ago and I’m a great believer in what the PCA does with the rookies as well as past and present players. I think the most important thing they do is through the education that they deliver to the players.”
Essex and South African spinner, Simon Harmer, said: “It was extremely interesting to listen to Fraser’s story and it puts into perspective how easily that can happen.
“I think with cricket especially when you’re enjoying successes and having a beer afterwards, sometimes that can effect relationships that you have at home or with your family.
“It’s always good to educate players about the dangers that are out there when it comes to alcohol and I think Fraser’s story resonates with a lot of people, which is why everyone was engrossed in the session.
“For me, when he was talking about having a big night and then having to train the next day, that was something that really hit home and made me think about my relationship with alcohol.”
Find out more about the Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP) by clicking here.