Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan and Sports Minister Helen Grant paid a special visit to Loughborough Carillon Cricket Club in support of the local This Girl Can campaign, and the announcement of a new women’s cricket team joining the Club, who will compete in the Midlands Premier League in 2015.
Andy Harland, Chairman of Carillon Cricket Club said: “This is a great development for our club. We have a growing number of girls in our junior section and to give them a senior team to aspire to play for is something we are very enthusiastic about and should lead to a really sustainable future for women’s cricket. Loughborough Carillon is also the largest mixed hockey club in the county, so extending this to cricket is a very natural development for us.”
Sport England is investing £27.5 million between 2013-17, to get more people playing cricket regularly. This includes an investment of £20 million in the England and Wales Cricket Board. It is delivering a number of initiatives to support women cricketers and is also encouraging more disabled people to take up the game through the ‘Hit the Top’ programme.
Women and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan said: “Congratulations to Loughborough Carillon Cricket Club on welcoming so many new women to their club and on joining the Women’s Midlands Premier League. It’s great to see grass roots cricket thriving.
The This Girl Can campaign is having a galvanising effect on women all over the country. Watching it makes me want to pull on my trainers and get out there, which is just as well as I’m running the Loughborough half marathon in aid of Living Without Abuse in March.”
This latest announcement follows a spectacular year for women’s cricket, with car manufacturer Kia signing a two-year sponsorship deal as the official car of England women’s cricket. This historic deal, secured in July 2014, represents the first ever standalone commercial arrangement for the England women’s team, making Kia the first ever official England women’s cricket partner.
It was also confirmed that this year, for the first time, Sky Sports will provide live television coverage of every ball in the seven match multi-format 2015 Women’s Ashes Series.
Minister for Sport Helen Grant said: “I am delighted to hear that Carillon Cricket Club’s women’s team will now compete in the Midlands Premier League.
“Loughborough Carillon has a long standing reputation as a supportive, community cricket club and this latest achievement is a further string to their bow.
“At a time when Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign is really capturing the imagination of the nation, what better example could we wish for than a new female cricket team entering the Midlands Cricket League.”
Adam Rigarlsford, Strategic Lead for Local Relationships at Sport England said: “It’s great to see Carillon Cricket Club giving women’s sport in Loughborough a boost, and supporting This Girl Can. Sport England, Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport and local sports clubs like Carillon are all working to make sure that women inspired by This Girl Can have the opportunities and support they need to get involved in sport.
We’re excited about today’s announcement and delighted that Nicky Morgan MP and Helen Grant MP were able to be here in Loughborough to see the enthusiasm and excitement building around this campaign.”
Nicky Morgan MP and Helen Grant MP were also there to support the Leicester-Shire & Rutland This Girl Can campaign. This Girl Can is a national campaign designed to encourage more women and girls to get active. It’s a celebration of the active women who are doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get.
Led by Sport England, the This Girl Can campaign is the first of its kind to feature women of all shapes, sizes and sporting abilities that sweat and jiggle as they exercise. It seeks to tell the real story of women who exercise and play sport by using images that are the complete opposite of the idealised and stylised images of women we are now used to seeing.