Pioneering ACE Programme set to launch in Kent

Friday 1st April 2022

Pioneering ACE Programme set to launch in Kent

Cricket’s African Caribbean Engagement Programme (ACE), established by Ebony Rainford-Brent and having already achieved success in London, Birmingham and Bristol, is set to rollout in Kent.

The initiative, which provides tailored environments for the development of cricketers from Black communities, will be inaugurated in Kent in 2022, operating across Greenwich and Lewisham, after a funding model was agreed between ACE and Kent Cricket.

Over 600 young local cricketers are expected to pass through ACE’s Talent ID programme each year with over 2,500 school children due to participate in ACE school schemes annually, with sessions due to launch in both primary and secondary schools across the county.

Former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent, now a commentator on Sky Sports and the BBC, is Chair of the ACE Programme which was originally setup in 2019 before becoming an independent charity in late 2020 after receiving £540,000 in funding from Sport England. ACE then formed a partnership with Royal London, allowing it to launch in Bristol.

That financial support has allowed ACE to so far engage over 6,000 young cricketers in London, Bristol and Birmingham, as well as handing out over 200 trials, which have led to a total of 109 scholarships for talented young players in the ACE National Academy.

“ACE has been delivering across other boroughs south London for two years and we’ve already seen the impact it has created, to be able to start working in Greenwich and Lewisham, both of which have giant potential, is incredibly exciting”, said Rainford-Brent.

“ACE is focused on connecting the dots to help under-represented groups from the grassroots to the elite. We know this programme will help open up new pathways to do exactly that and are excited to partner with the team at Kent to have an impact.

“We’re really grateful to Kent for this meaningful support, allowing us to build on our initial backing from Sport England and start taking ACE to the next level – a truly national organisation.”

The ACE initiative incorporates talent spotting within schools, followed by trials and the awarding of scholarships to support endeavours to breakthrough into the professional game.

James Reid, Head of Community Cricket at Kent Cricket, said: “We are really excited to partner with ACE across our South-East London boroughs.

“The ACE Programme has a proven track record of giving opportunities for young cricketers from Black communities the opportunity to experience cricket and develop their skills to take them to the next level.

“Kent Cricket is focused on ensuring that cricket is a force for good in our community and the ACE programme has the potential to change young people’s lives.

“With more opportunities and access to the game, more people will have the chance to reach their potential which is critical as we progress on our journey to ensure that cricket is a game for everyone in Kent.”

Find out more about the ACE Programme