The world is increasingly aware of the power of sport as a force for good in the community and it is well-documented that the role of sporting teams can be inspiring and encouraging.
The barometer of success in sport might be trophies, and a lucky few sportspeople make it to the top level and enjoy all the excitement and financial reward that comes with it. But, for every elite athlete, there are millions who go out and play a sport, do ‘their best’ and gain a huge amount from it.
The life skills gained by taking part in sport are endless. There’s team building and teamwork, you learn resilience – I call it “bounce-back-ability” – you learn how to deal with success and failure and gain the discipline to play a role that impacts others on your team. These are transferable skills and build good people, good workers and the type of individuals we want in our communities. There are huge parallels across the worlds of sport, work, and culture.
As a professional sports Club and the governing body for recreational cricket in Kent, we can play a valuable role, not just by offering cricket coaching, sports training and on-field opportunities but, by reaching out into the broader community. We can give back to the general community through regular school-based activities such as a recent Mental Health Awareness Day initiative. We can touch 30 lives in a classroom but if we video what we are doing and share to 100,000 Twitter followers, we can make an even bigger impact.
Research suggests that a County Cricket Club delivers at least £12million back to the regional economy. We are flying the flag for Kent and we want people to understand it is a great place to live, work and study as well as play cricket. Covid was one of the single biggest threats to our club in living memory, and when we came back, we had to play in empty stadiums. It actually cost us money to play those games, but it was an investment and ensured that cricket played an important part in the country’s recovery from the pandemic. As well as improving the wellbeing of sports fans who wanted sport back on their screens, we also supported a range of league and community cricket across the county of Kent.
As we look forward, our desire to see cricket as a force for good in our community has never been stronger. We can’t turn our backs on the recent problems we’ve seen around discrimination in our sport. Our next challenge is to make sure that cricket is as inclusive and diverse as possible – to ensure every child has the opportunity to pick up a bat and ball, wherever they live and whatever their background.”
Simon Storey, Chief Executive of Kent Cricket will be appearing at The Kent Business Summit delving into the role of sport in inspiring the next generation.