Parity in the game = driving up participation
In January 2019, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) unveiled the Inspiring Generations strategy. The strategy highlights key areas within the game where improvements could be made between 2020-24 to increase participation.
Of the six areas for improvement, the ‘biggest growth opportunity’ came from transforming women’s and girl’s cricket. The Inspiring Generations report identified that despite England Women winning the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in Bristol, 35% of women questioned say “there is no cricket available for them”. Increasing numbers of women and girls are playing cricket recreationally, and whilst the desire exists, the infrastructure is frequently lacking.
In December 2018, gcp were appointed by the ECB to work on the first pilot Urban Cricket Centre in Leyton. The brief for this new cricket concept pilot was to embody the opportunities identified in both the Inspiring Generations strategy and the earlier South Asian Action Plan. One of the challenges facing gcp was to redesign an existing ‘male/ female’ changing facility to accommodate all genders taking account of any cultural sensitivities surrounding changing.
The Leyton Urban Cricket Centre pilot opened in July 2019, providing a new home for Essex Women’s XI as well as training facilities for many local schools and clubs.