Victorian cricket will again extend its reach to a wide cross-section of the community this season through several initiatives under Cricket Victoria's Harmony in Cricket philosophy.
Harmony in Cricket was established over 10 years ago and is an over-arching approach to ensuring a welcoming and inclusive environment regardless of the participant's cultural background, religion, gender, age or ability.
Cricket Victoria General Manager of Game and Market Development Rohan O'Neill said the program formed a fundamental part of the cricket's engagement in the community.
"Victoria is a broad and diverse community and we want cricket to reflect that as well and give opportunities to those communities that may not have considered being involved before," O'Neill said.
Among the key focus areas are people with disabilities, refugees or community members from non-English speaking backgrounds, the LGBTQI+ community and Victoria's indigenous community.
"Whether it's the first-ever Premier Cricket Indigenous Round we held last season, our All Nations Social Cricket Program with Monash Health or our BBL All-Abilities Cup, we are committed to making cricket fun, accessible and more importantly something that can have a positive impact on people's lives and in turn our community," O'Neill said.
Last season saw an increase in Indigenous participation across Victorian cricket as the organisation delivered a first ever Premier Cricket Indigenous Round. The season culminated with the Victorian men's team winning the National Indigenous Cricket Championships for the first time.
"Participation is really important to us. The Harmony in cricket philosophy is embedded is all our community activities and programs. As an example, last year we worked with more than 400 students in English language schools across Melbourne and we partnered with AMES Australia on cricket programs to help refugees and migrant settle in Victoria," O'Neill said.
Victorian cricket's work with people with disabilities has also had a positive impact with the Victorian Vikings Intellectual Disability cricket team. The team clinched the title at the National Cricket Inclusion Championships in Geelong earlier this year and last week were crowned Team of the Year at the Disability Sport and Recreation Awards in Melbourne.
During last season, Cricket Victoria also successfully launched its partnership with Proud2Play to research and ultimately deliver the most inclusive social introductory cricket program for the LGBTQI+ community.
Underpinning many of these programs is access to local facilities. More than 130 Victorian cricket clubs have been recipients of funding through On Common Ground - a four-year, $12.4 million partnership with the Victorian Government and Cricket Australia, investing in Victoria's cricket infrastructure and supporting activities in club cricket.
"Cricket's message is clear. We welcome everyone to the sport, in whatever way they choose to be involved. Just like the Victorian community, cricket includes people from all walks of life and we want to celebrate that diversity and the social and health benefits that cricket can provide to all involved," O'Neill said.
21 AUGUST, 2017 | Game Development