Kent and England wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings visited the launch of a new disability cricket programme for which he will serve as an ambassador alongside Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Northeast.
Joining forces with the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, the Lord’s Taverners, the ambassadors will help raise awareness and understanding of the charity’s programmes within recreational cricket.
Billings helped launch the Lord’s Taverners Cricket Ambassador Programme at a Disability Cricket Championships (LTDCC) session in Bromley this week where 20 disabled young people enjoyed the rare chance to play cricket with the England international.
The ambassador programme’s aim is to both strengthen the connection between the Lord’s Taverners and professional cricketers and to raise awareness of the charity’s initiatives amongst the younger supporters of the game.
The ambassadors will attend regional and national Lord’s Taverners programmes and events, as well as showing support by using a charity coloured bat grip when they play.
Paul Robin, CEO Lord’s Taverners, welcomed the launch of the ambassador programme: “We’ve made a concerted effort to get the support of professional cricketers throughout the country in the lead up to the 2017 season, not only to improve their understanding of what we do but to help share our charitable message with cricket fans across the country.
“Having a player of Sam’s calibre here today, engaging and playing cricket with disabled young people in Bromley is fantastic and something they won’t forget. The session highlighted how important the scheme will be for the charity moving forward. With our disadvantaged and disability cricket programmes continuing to develop throughout the UK, the timing of their involvement couldn’t be better.”
Billings, 25, who has been part of the England ODI and T20 squads which toured India and the West Indies this year, is looking forward to supporting the work of the Lord’s Taverners and playing his part in raising awareness of the charity’s initiatives amongst young cricket fans.
Billings said: “I am delighted to be supporting the Lord’s Taverners through this exciting new ambassador programme. It is really important that charities such as the Lord’s Taverners receive the promotion and awareness they deserve and this new project should help shine a spotlight on what the charity does to more cricket followers.
“The work the charity undertakes in providing young people with a sporting chance is crucial and I am very pleased that I am now able to help play my part in helping with this.”
The Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricket Championships (LTDCC), in partnership with the Berkeley Foundation, is a year-round cricket programme for young people aged 14-25 with a limiting disability. LTDCC provides access to regular coaching and competition in local communities across London through an innovative partnership with the County Cricket Boards of Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey.
Each borough competes in a year-round league structure that provides regular competition and this culminates in a Finals Day at Lord’s.
The programme was delivered to young people in 23 London boroughs in 2016 with the aim of reaching all 32 London Boroughs in the next three years. The long term goal is to expand the programme nationally, starting in the Eastern Counties followed by other major UK cities.