Visiting Park Avenue Cricket Club, Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain has urged the England and Wales Cricket Board to release more funding to revitalise grassroots cricket facilities across Bradford.
The call from Imran is part of his months long campaign to boost grassroots sports facilities right across the Bradford District, culminating in a meeting with senior officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week, and a further meeting on Tuesday 07 February 2023 with Park Avenue Cricket Club to discuss the positive impact that greater investment in Park Avenue and other sites will have not just on participation in sport, but people’s health and wellbeing too.
This campaign from Imran follows years of underinvestment in grassroots sports across Bradford after more than a decade of Government cuts and underinvestment to sports and local services, which has forced a number of grassroots venues to close, and also follows the recent allegations of racism and discrimination towards ethnic minority players at Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC).
Bradford Park Avenue has been one of the homes of sport in Bradford for over one hundred years, hosting county cricket, as well as football and rugby games. However, the facilities at the Park Avenue ground have fallen into disrepair over recent years, despite some funding support to erect practice nets at the site, creating a desperate need for further support to reverse its decline and the decline of facilities across the rest of the Bradford District.
Speaking on his campaign for greater investment in grassroots cricket facilities across Bradford, Imran said:
“Sports are at the heart of so many of our communities across Bradford and they are enjoyed by people from all walks of life, and our grassroots sports are the key to ensuring that we don’t just have a good talent stream for our sporting stars of tomorrow, but that we have a way of getting more people participating in sport and physical activity.
“Yet despite the importance of our grassroots sports in training a new generation of players and in tackling health inequalities, they have suffered immensely over the last decade as the Government have cut funding. As a result, many have been forced to close, and young people are now being forced to play cricket in the street just as I used to have to do because there is nowhere left for them to play.
“The UK is a great sporting nation and no one should be having to play cricket or any other other sport in the street because there aren’t suitable facilities available. That’s why I’m pushing for real community facilities that everyone can use, not just with the redevelopment of Park Avenue which can act as the anchor institution for cricket throughout the Bradford District, but with more support for the many other great grassroots venues across the rest of Bradford.”