Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NZC: All Abilities programme opening doors in Cricket

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket

Established during the 2021/22 season, Canterbury Cricket’s “All Abilities Hub” was created to provide young disabled people an opportunity to try cricket in an inclusive environment.

Delivered by Canterbury Cricket’s Game Development Officers, the sessions utilise Smash Play junior-tamariki games and a range of inclusive cricket/sports equipment.

Understanding that cricket is a technical sport, the games and activities are modified to suit the individual’s needs.

The programme has witnessed significant growth from just 5 families in 2021/22 to over 15 participants registered and attending regularly each term this season.

Christchurch local and cricket-lover, Zac Baxter, has been a part of the programme since its inception.

Zac lives with Autism, social anxiety and dyspraxia, and the benefits of the All Abilities programme have been clear to Zac’s mother, Karen Andrews.

“It’s so important for everyone to realise the difference All Abilities cricket has made to Zac’s life, its been life changing for him,” said Andrews.

“The programme has helped to develop Zac’s confidence (both with the game and socialising with others), through the opportunity to interact and build relationships in a specifically designed programme,

“The growth we have witnessed from Zac over the course of All Abilities has been incredible and his passion for cricket has just grown,

“Even though Zac can’t play in a cricket team the programme has meant Zac can still be involved in the sport he is so passionate about,” Andrews concluded.

A big highlight for Zac has been his involvement with the Canterbury teams at the Dream11 Super Smash home games.

Through relationships built with CCA staff at the All Abilities programme, Zac has lent a hand manning the inflatables, handing out merchandise, and setting up Toblerone advertising boards.

To cap off a memorable season, Zac was recently invited to be 13th man for Canterbury during a Ford Trophy game, as a thank you for all his volunteering during the Super Smash season.

Andrews helped illustrate what these opportunities meant to Zac and the family.

“There are no words for what this opportunity meant to Zac – to be able to feel like part of the team is all Zac has ever wanted,” said Andrews.

“We will be forever grateful for what the All Abilities team and the Canterbury Cricket team have done for Zac,”

“It’s so important that families of young people with special needs realise that with the right support, understanding and opportunities – their young one can do incredible things in this world and live their best life.”

All Abilities will continue to run this season to provide an opportunity for all young people with a disability to try and enjoy cricket.

Long term, Canterbury Cricket want to support their clubs to be more inclusive of young people with disabilities, so that some participant may feel comfortable joining a club team and playing with their peers.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

For more information on the programme or to get involved, please contact Rebecca Gillett at rgillett@canterburycricket.org.nz.

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