October 2018 - Cricket in the community - Burbage and Easton Royal CC

Successful sports clubs have always been the beating heart of a local community. They provide a focus for local people to come together for competitive, recreational and social reasons and by providing that focal point, the sports club can sustain itself. Cricket is no different, and in an era where many clubs are struggling with participation, being central to the local community can help attract players, keep players and encourage family interaction.

There are many examples of cricket clubs in Wiltshire engaging with their local community and encouraging use of facilities and providing community events, with the 'Pink Saturday' Breast Cancer support days taking place at numerous clubs this summer. With the advent of social media, these events and opportunities are more widely shared and there is much greater chance of cricket clubs contributing far wider than their own existence.

The focus of this post is to highlight the Operation Christmas Child project that Burbage & Easton Royal CC are leading on this winter. This is a global project coordinated by the Samaritans Purse, an international relief and development organisation that works through local churches to help those in  need, specifically amongst communities in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Operation Christmas Child involves people wrapping up an old shoebox in Christmas decoration, donating £5, and filling their box with gifts to be sent off to children less fortunate than ourselves.

The club are coordinating a local collection point for shoeboxes and have arranged a collection night at the club's home ground; Red Lion Field, where anyone that wishes to participate can drop off their box ready for it to be transported further afield. However, this is not just about the cricket club's members and the club is very keen to promote this within the local community and further afield too, with the hope that other local cricket club members will support and contribute too.

It's very easy to do - just use an old shoebox, wrap it in Christmas paper, head to the Samaritan's Purse website, where a £5 donation is requested in order for you to register your box and download a unique barcode to allocate to your box and enable tracking of it. Then bring it to Burbage on Monday 12 November from 7pm where the club will provide a compliemtary drink and nibbles and coordinate the safe passage of your box to a very happy recipient.  

For information on what to include in your shoebox, how to pack it and the full details of Operation Christmas Child please visit the website.

All of us at Wiltshire Cricket wish the club the very best of luck with this project and are proud to see Wiltshire clubs using their position in their local community to support local, national and international events.