Youngsters from across the North East are being given the chance to develop and showcase their talents thanks to the Durham County Cricket Foundation.
The region’s only first class cricket club is giving back to the area by providing programmes and activities for local people.
The Foundation aims to use the power of sport to raise aspirations, increase self esteem and improve the health of communities throughout the North East.
And 20 youngsters got to perform a dance routine in front of a massive crowd at the recent England v Pakistan NatWest One Day International at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground through the Foundation’s work.
Thanks to the support of Northumbrian Water the ten to 12-year-olds had taken part in a week-long free ‘dance camp’, as well as in-school dance taster sessions - run in conjunction with local performing arts organisation TinArts.
They then took to the cricket pitch for a pretty impressive debut in front of the 15,000 strong crowd at the Emirates Durham ICG ahead of the International earlier this month.
Their performance in front of the packed stadium was giving a rousing welcome by the enthusiastic fans who went on to see England beat Pakistan by 24 runs.
Richard Hopper, community coach at the Durham County Cricket Foundation, said: “These young people worked hard to learn the routine at the dance camp at the Emirates Durham. During the week-long event they also got the chance to try their hands at a number of other different sports as well.
“The fact their hard work culminated in this performance proved to be a really positive event for these children, it was something quite out of the ordinary and I think they all really enjoyed it.
“There was no stage fright at all, even in front of the big crowd in the stadium just before the match started. They all did really well.”
Mark Foster from DCCC, said: “The Durham County Cricket Foundation aims to inspire, motivate and raise self-esteem in the local community using the power of sport.
“Its Grassroots Sport, Health and Education programmes are already in action. This dance programme was part of the health programme made possible by the Foundation with support from Northumbrian Water and the excellent performance by these young people shows how powerful sport can be.
“Sport helps raise expectations and self esteem, while also helping our communities to be fitter and healthier. We believe in delivering excellence in all our programmes, which is why we teamed up with specialist performing arts organisation TinArts for this project.
“Durham County Cricket Club and its players are great role models and we want to make sure we use that status to help support our local community.”
The Durham County Cricket Foundation delivers its programmes to communities in County Durham, Northumberland, Cumbria and the Tees Valley - providing stadium visits, match day events and opportunities to meet professional cricketers.
It aims to interact with 25,000 people from within the area each year. Its partners include the Esh Charitable Trust, Tesco and Northumbrian Water.
If you are interested in more information about the Durham Cricket Foundation please contact Richard Hopper on 0191 387 2816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org