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Cricket engaging North Solihull youngsters over the summer

A pioneering initiative aimed at engaging with young people in North Solihull is teaming up with local clubs for two Urban Cricket festivals to be held this week (4th and 5 th July).

The events at Castle Bromwich and Marston Green cricket clubs are being run by the NS Fusion sports programme, in conjunction with domestic test Match sponsors npower and are aimed at keeping youngsters active, while also developing an early appreciation of the game. NS Fusion is a highly active community initiative, which holds several events each week throughout the area covered by the £1.8bn Regenerating North Solihull area. 

The four hour Urban Cricket festivals, which are also being supported by Smith's Wood School Sports Partnership and Warwickshire Cricket Board, take place at Castle Bromwich Cricket Club on Wednesday 4 July and at Marston Green Cricket Club on Thursday 5 July. Year four pupils from junior schools across North Solihull will be taking part.

Urban Cricket is a major grassroots cricket initiative launched by npower last year. The initiative also involves the distribution of thousands of cricket kits to youngsters between the ages of 7 – 12 across the UK.

NS Fusion is a five year project which focuses on regular activities under the banners 'StreetSport' and 'HolidaySport', aimed at 10 – 24 year olds. It has been instrumental in helping reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in some trouble spots within North Solihull. The £500,000 project is part funded by the North Solihull Partnership as well as Solihull Council, Sport England and Jobcentre Plus. The project provides evening activities, holiday programmes and New Deal training opportunities for young people to become professional sports coaches.

The North Solihull Partnership is delivering the £1.8 billion Regenerating North Solihull investment programme across the three wards of Smith's Wood, Chelmsley Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge over the next 15 years, creating 8,000 new homes, a series of new schools and five new village centres.

Janet Bradbury, chief executive of the Partnership which has contributed £75,000 to the project, said: "Since its inception a year ago, NS Fusion has proven to be an extremely worthwhile community initiative with hundreds of young people engaging in organised sporting activity."

"As well as helping to encourage a healthy lifestyle for the young people of North Solihull, NS Fusion has also made a significant impact on instances of anti-social behaviour in areas targeted by the project."

"One of the key planks of Regenerating North Solihull is creating better opportunities for local young people, and it is gratifying to see organisations such as npower and the local cricketing fraternity sharing in these aims."