Ludlow Cricket Club's Sacha Lee left bowled over by her award
Ludlow Cricket Club’s Sacha Lee has picked up a prestigious Chance to Shine national award at Lord’s.
Lee, who is a Cricket Shropshire Community and Schools Officer, received the Chance to Shine Community Cricket award at the ceremony in London after being nominated for her work in the county over the past two years.
“To represent Cricket Shropshire in the national Chance to Shine awards in one thing, but to win – so very proud. I love what I do,” said Lee, who is Ludlow’s safeguarding officer.
“I was a cricket mum in a cricket club and was asked to join the Board. I just wanted to inspire my children and to go on to inspire kids in the community is just amazing.
“We really do have a great team at Cricket Shropshire, this award is also for them and all their efforts supporting the community projects we offer.”
Cricket Shropshire Lead Officer Steve Reese said Lee was brought on board to develop a project to increase the reach in urban areas.
It started as a part-time role initially, but it soon became a full-time contract to help develop the offer specifically in Telford – which has two areas in the top 10 nationally for deprivation and the highest ethnicity concentration in the county.
He said: “Our plans coincided with Chance to Shine and the ECB’s focus for increasing delivery in areas of socio and economic deprivation which has a knock-on effect to the local schools.
“This came just after a successful summer of community delivery organised by Sacha, so the timing could not have been better.
“Sacha enhanced the existing community and local authority links and the icing on the cake was the Chance to Shine Youth Strategy initiative – we were able to increase our free schools’ delivery by 13 which was the boost we needed to support her outreach project.
“She continued to knock on doors, she took over the booking of schools and allocating our inexperienced workforce into schools and community projects.
“Once there was a feeling we could sustain these projects we put in a bid for Chance to Shine STREET funding. We were successful in introducing four programmes, the first ones in the county.
“She was the driver of this initiative and was leading from the front, supporting the young workforce in arenas they had not experienced before. The stories which came from these projects were heart-warming and rewarding. I cannot speak highly enough of Sacha’s enthusiasm, focus and drive to ensure these people are given every opportunity to engage with us.”
Lee highlighted the work she has been doing with South Asian women and girls in the community as her most rewarding.
“They used to hide away, they didn’t want to be seen, and for the first time this year they started to trust me,” she said. “They entered their own Women & Girls softball team in some of our festivals, and they came across my team.
“It was absolutely amazing to see how over the two years they had got the confidence from hiding away to standing there, with a male umpire at times, facing their coach. I just thought: Wow. We’ve really made a difference. And they’re not just people I coach, they are my friends. I think that’s the most amazing thing about what we do.”