Joy For Youth Cricketers As Funding Helps Their Post-Covid Restart

ASPIRING Joe Root and Ben Stokes wannabes from West Suffolk are back playing the game they love most, after a devastating year for their youth cricket experience.

Nowton Cricket Club has this week been awarded a grant of £700 from the Suffolk Community Restart programme, helping it to get upwards of 40 youngsters back on the pitch among their friends.

All games were cancelled for Nowton’s junior cricketers in 2020, and only a handful of adult games were played in all.

On top of this, the club saw the reduction in revenue from lost subscriptions and an inevitable drop-off in bar profits. Thanks to the grant, Nowton is now able to install broadband to enable contactless payment, add further training aids, ball machines and signage. 

Graham Balaam, Club Treasurer and Youth Coach Assistant, said: “It’s fair to say that 2020 was a terrible year, with no junior cricket and only limited adult games.

“It was so hard to come to terms with, as the club has been going over 50 years and is really quite central to the community.

“Finding out about Community Restart has meant that we could use a very welcome financial contribution to make changes in a way which will allow us to be compliant with all Covid measures, while getting the youngsters back doing what they love most.”

Graham Balaam

The funds have been awarded via the Suffolk Community Restart programme, which is being led by Community Action Suffolk and is made possible through partnership working involving Suffolk County Council, East Suffolk Council, West Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils.

Chris Abraham, Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk, said: “The pandemic has been devastating for so many community-based organisations, and sports clubs and teams have certainly been hard hit within that.

“We’re delighted that the Restart programme means dozens of young cricketers will be back out there doing the sport which keeps them physically and mentally healthy, and which creates a sense of community.”

Applications for the Suffolk Community Grants still open and can be accessed by 

filling in the Community Restart application form at www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk on the Community Restart page at and sending it to [email protected]

Chrissie Geeson, Chair of the Collaborative Communities Board said: “We are so pleased to be able to provide the Community Restart funding for voluntary and community groups. 

“Now, more than ever, is it so important to connect communities and to help reduce isolation for all ages.”

Cllr Robert Everitt, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities at West Suffolk Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the return of youth-level cricket at Nowton Cricket Club. 

“We know community sports and activities have all suffered as a result of the pandemic as have those who enjoyed participating or proudly watching and cheering on their loved ones as they take part. 

“We are pleased to give the cricket club a helping hand thanks to this Community Restart Grant and we would encourage other community groups, if they haven’t already, to look into how the Restart Scheme can help them safely return to the activities they previously enjoyed.”  

To find out more about the Suffolk Community Restart project details can be found on the Community Action Suffolk website – www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk on the Community Restart page or email [email protected]

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