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Safe Space for Afghan Refugees at Gloucestershire Cricket 

A group of recently resettled Afghan refugees have been welcomed into a space to play cricket in Gloucestershire, thanks to a new partnership with City of Bristol College. 

Each Wednesday afternoon, between 12 to 20 young people, nearly all Afghan refugees, gather at Gloucestershire’s high-performance indoor cricket centre for two hours of cricket. These free sessions, which started in January 2024, offer the teenagers and young adults the chance to learn new skills, form friendships, and receive coaching from Gloucestershire first-team players. 

Led by Gloucestershire’s Head of Community, Pete Lamb, the programme has received support from players such as Miles Hammond, Marchant de Lange, Graeme van Buuren, and David Payne. These players have shared their expertise and experience, helping the participants improve their cricket skills. 

The initiative aims to create an inspiring and encouraging environment, enhancing the students’ enjoyment of college and potentially leading to better academic outcomes. 

Kirsty Cross, Designated Lead for Children in Care and Care Leavers at the City of Bristol College, remarked on the positive impact of the sessions, saying: “The noticeable excitement and enthusiasm on the students’ faces when they know its cricket day has been a joy to see. They have become a team, both supportive and caring of each other and this camaraderie has extended into the college.” 

Having conducted around 20 weekly cricket sessions so far, the club hopes to expand the partnership by offering academic lessons at the Seat Unique Stadium. This initiative aims to provide a different and enriching learning experience for the students. 

Pete Lamb expressed his satisfaction with the programme, saying: “Supporting these young people by giving them the chance to play cricket and assisting with their learning needs has been incredibly rewarding. The stability of weekly cricket sessions has been extremely valuable to them, and we will continue to support the City of Bristol College with a view to expanding the programme.” 

Miles Hammond, a regular coach in the programme, added: “Seeing the enjoyment and sense of community the guys gained from these sessions has been awesome. For young people who have been through so much, having a place to play cricket and connect with others is something to be really proud of.” 

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