How the Grassroots Cricket Fund is helping clubs break the barriers of COVID-19

1 October, 2021

The players’ investment into the Grassroots Cricket Fund is helping communities like Aberfeldie Cricket Club get onto the front foot following the challenges of COVID-19.

Due to COVID restrictions on community sport, the north-west Melbourne club was concerned it would not be able to retain or attract new players at junior level. And while sanitizing stations and QR check-ins became commonplace, sharing equipment was forbidden.

To overcome this challenge, the club used its $2,000 equipment grant allocation from the Grassroots Cricket Fund to purchase 10 bags of Kookaburra cricket-sets, to provide gear to kids who wanted to trial cricket. It also offered a solution to parents who may have been hesitant about purchasing new equipment.

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“Cricket is a sport that requires a bit of an investment in gear to get started,” said Philip Connell, Treasurer at the Aberfeldie Cricket Club.

“The Grassroots Cricket Fund really helped us get more kids into our junior program which might not have otherwise been the case. We had a good season, and it was really helpful.

“We were able to give some gear away to kids to trial and if they were committed, then they could return the equipment the next season and get their own. But that way, they had their own equipment for the season. And they didn't they didn't have to share it, which was a COVID rule.”

The club received a very positive response across both its boys’ and girls’ programs, enabling them to attract a number of new players which they may not otherwise have been able to recruit. All up, the club fielded 125 juniors across 12 teams.

The Grassroots Cricket Fund, a commitment of up to $30 million from Australia’s professional cricketers aims to make the experience of cricket better and more accessible for all players throughout Australia.

Since 2019, the Fund – administered by the Australian Cricketers’ Association and Cricket Australia – has so far delivered $6.9 million to over 2,400 community cricket clubs.

As clubs around the country continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the Grassroots Cricket Fund will again make $2.5 million available for equipment grants to cricket clubs across Australia. This year, for the first time, those funds will also be made available to Indoor Cricket Centres and Premier Cricket Clubs.

“That makes it even more special,” Philip said on the funding coming from the players.

“The Grassroots Cricket Fund has been terrific for us and its fabulous to know that it was funded by the players. It’s great tribute to the players that they want to give back to the grassroots cricket in the junior level and club level. For the junior kids to say that their gear is being paid for by the players, that’s a thrill right there.”

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The Australian Cricketers’ Association acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present.