Nottinghamshire’s heralded Community team will make good on a series of promises detailed in the Club’s successful bid to host Investec Ashes Test Matches with the launch of an ambitious programme of initiatives to harness the opportunities presented by major matches.
The Trent Bridge Community Sports Trust, Nottinghamshire’s charitable arm, are the senior partners in a group that brings together several Ashes host venues and includes the MCC, Durham Cricket Foundation and Cricket Victoria.
Under the united banner of the ‘Ashes Legacy Partnership,’ the venues will deliver common schemes to engage volunteers, entertain spectators and educate young people.
“We’ve always worked hard to ensure that major matches have a positive benefit on our communities but this is the first time we have planned a programme on this scale,” said Tracey Francis, Nottinghamshire’s Head of Community Sport.
“Rolling out schemes across multiple venues seemed like a logical step for us and our challenge now is to transform plans into action. There’s a lot to do before the 10th of July.”
The Club unveiled a second permanent replay screen at the start of the season, part-funded by Nottinghamshire County Council in recognition of the reputational, economic and community benefits of staging major matches at Trent Bridge.
“We made commitments in our bid document to build a second replay screen and to further enhance our community programmes so the support of Nottinghamshire County Council was vital in securing the matches and enabling us to increase the scope of our schemes,” said Tracey.
“There will always be competition between venues to host major matches but we want to promote idea-sharing and we’re really pleased to be working with other Ashes venues.
“The key message is that this is a unique opportunity for first-class teams to work collaboratively because that is something that has never been done before.”
Whilst Tracey’s team oversee several schemes that are not cricket-related, they maintain an over-arching aim to make cricket the sport of choice in Nottinghamshire.
Countless hours are spent in clubs and schools ensuring that facilities are in place, equipment is available and coaches are up to scratch. Maintaining their core commitment whilst delivering Ashes Legacy schemes on an unprecedented scale will be demanding.
The department have won the ECB award for Best Community Programme for the last three years and will make a compelling case for a fourth if every element of the proposed scheme bears fruit.
Specific Ashes Legacy Partnership plans include such schemes as open days where non-members can watch live coverage of the Test, a song for the Ashes where schoolchildren and community groups will be encouraged to record songs and an ambitious volunteering scheme to compliment the Trent Bridge workforce.
“The games-maker concept enthused a lot of people to think about volunteering at sporting events but we have routinely used volunteers at Trent Bridge since ICC World Twenty20 in 2009,” said Tracey.
“Because of the size of this event, we have an opportunity to recruit more volunteers than ever before and they will form an essential part of our match delivery.”
The Club’s funding partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council also detailed a specific commitment to extend the Positive Futures Scheme to Hawtonville. A dramatic fall in juvenile crime in Cotgrave, where the scheme has been active for four years, has raised the profile and reputation of a project that was originally funded by the Football Foundation.
“We want to be known as an organisation that can affect change in challenging circumstances and local authorities have recognised that we are by supporting us in delivering these schemes,” said Tracey.
“Hosting major matches and delivering in the community go hand in hand. One doesn’t happen without the other. Our mission is to marry exceptional event delivery with exceptional community programmes to help safeguard the future of Trent Bridge as a Test Match Venue.”