Lord’s Taverners: London Freemasons helping to empower disabled young people through cricket
Thousands of young people with disabilities participating in the Lord's Taverners Super 1s programme are set to benefit from a £60,000 grant courtesy of London Freemasons through the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Super 1s is a free inclusive community cricket programme, delivered by the Lord's Taverners charity in conjunction with local county cricket boards, for young people with disabilities aged 12-25. Most participants live with a variety of physical and learning disabilities including spina bifida, autism and cerebral palsy. Access to sport and facilities is a major issue for young people living with a disability (Scope, 2019), and this is illustrated by the fact that there are 1.2m young people with a disability in the UK who access sport rarely or not at all. Disabled children are twice as likely to be lonely compared to their non-disabled peers (72% vs 36%) and are disadvantaged by negative perceptions that sport is ‘not for them’.
Super 1s provides an opportunity for these young people to have fun playing cricket with friends every week, experience competitive sports with peers, and reduce the chances of developing feelings of loneliness and isolation. The programme also goes beyond cricket, helping individuals to develop vital life skills that improve confidence and self-esteem, all of which provide a platform for participants to realise their potential.
Across the UK, and including London, each cricket board has a dedicated development officer to deliver: weekly training hubs based in a variety of settings, including schools, colleges, leisure centres and cricket clubs; local leagues to create competition; young Leader training leading to qualification and becoming role models for the next group of participants, whether as a player, coach or volunteer; and personal development lifestyle workshops giving participants advice on eating well, independent living and other topics. The grant will also fund a new full-time Disability Cricket Programme Manager who will cover up to 17 Super 1s projects across the UK as part of the charity's plan to expand delivery of Super 1s from 22 national county locations to 39 counties across the UK.
Super 1s has already had a hugely positive impact on the lives of disabled young people, with 92 per cent feeling more active and 89 per cent feeling more able to make friends after being part of the programme. The MCF grant will fund the improvement of the charity's resources to deliver the programme, as they aim to take Super 1s to every county, Scotland and Wales by the end of 2024, and reach more young people with disabilities through cricket.
The Lord's Taverners exists to positively impact the lives of young people facing the challenges of inequality. The charity works across the UK and beyond to provide inclusive and impactful cricket programmes, empowering young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged communities to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence required to overcome the challenges of inequality and reach their potential.
Mark Curtin, CEO of the Lord's Taverners, said: "We are extremely grateful to the London Freemasons for this very generous grant which will enable us to continue improving and expanding our fantastic Super 1s programme.
"The impact the programme has on young people living with a disability really is life-changing, and thanks to your funding, we'll be able to continue improving the Super 1s offer and positively impact the lives of many more young people who need our support across the country. A huge thank you on their behalf for your support and generosity."
Paul King from London Freemasons said: "I'm very pleased we've been able to support the Lord's Taverners and the fantastic work they do to help young people with disabilities through cricket. Making the game accessible to all is a major challenge, and Super 1s allows young people to make friends, gain confidence and reach their potential."
For more information on The Lord's Taverners, please visit www.lordstaverners.org
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 51 April 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 51 here.