Rob Perrins, Chair of Trustees for the Berkeley Foundation, reflects on the growth of the Super 1s programme and why this project matters so much.
"Six years ago, the Lord's Taverners came to the Berkeley Foundation with an idea - to create a cricket programme that would transform the opportunities available for disabled young people. The plan was ambitious and challenging. It didn't just need investment. It needed support and buy-in from a wide network of partners, including county cricket boards, local councils and charities.
But the need for this type of programme was clear. Young people with disabilities don't have the sporting opportunities most take for granted. They can be isolated with fewer chances to meet up, make friends and experience all the benefits and joys of team sports.
So in 2013 we took the leap and launched the programme that would become Super 1s. We got started in four London boroughs where Berkeley had major projects and strong local links - Southwark, Hackney, Greenwich and Tower Hamlets. Sessions took place in community sports venues, with local councils helping find young participants and with training led by professional coaches from County Cricket Boards.
The care and expertise that went into Super 1s made it unique. It was fun, challenging, motivational, team-orientated and competitive. Coaching was personalised and responsive, setting attainable goals and recognising progress. Young people loved it and we discovered very early on that the experience could be life changing, improving confidence, self-esteem, fitness, happiness and all round wellbeing. It's not us making these claims - it's the young people involved.
So with those fantastic impacts behind us, we had a great case to expand. And six years on, Super 1s now has backing from the England and Wales Cricket Board, and runs in 32 London Boroughs, 13 English counties and in Scotland. That's a story of national expansion and national impact beyond anything we imagined.
By the close of the 2019 season close to 2,200 young people had taken part in Super 1s. The experience is different for everyone, but 84% feel more self-confident and 86% feel more independent. That's led to lasting impacts off the pitch, with parents and teachers reporting improved school performance, stronger social skills and a more positive outlook.
When we set up the Berkeley Foundation we wanted to support innovative charities and to test new and impactful ways of addressing the big social challenges. We hoped that some of this work would be scalable and grow far beyond our initial investment. Super 1s is a brilliant example of what can be achieved and we think its reach and impact can grow further still. That why we have renewed our partnership with the Lord's Taverners for a further four years and have set our ambitions even higher.
This programme is improving lives and strengthening communities right across the country. That is what really drives the Berkeley Foundation and we're incredibly proud to be making a difference."
Chair of Trustees