Chance to Shine volunteer coach Saba Nasim was yesterday honoured by Samantha Cameron for her work inspiring girls in East London to play and learn through cricket.
Nasim was named by Mrs Cameron as a “Point of Light” – an award through which Prime Minister David Cameron recognises outstanding individual volunteers who are making a difference in their local community.
The award was part of a reception held at Number 10 Downing Street to celebrate 10 years of Chance to Shine’s transformative work in schools and communities.
Mrs Cameron welcomed supporters and participants of the cricket charity, including Chance to Shine President Lord Mervyn King, co-founder Duncan Fearnley, Vice President Sir Tim Rice, England cricketer Steven Finn and Ruby-Mae Hockham – Chance to Shine’s three millionth participant.
Ruby-Mae, nine, from South London, started playing cricket earlier this year when a Chance to Shine coach visited St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School and sparked a passion for the game in her and her classmates.
Ruby-Mae is one of approximately 1.3 million girls who have had the opportunity to try cricket through the charity, which counts England captain Charlotte Edwards and many of her teammates as coaching ambassadors.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Cameron said: “I am delighted to help Chance to Shine celebrate their three millionth child. Cricket is for all: children can learn teamwork, resilience, leadership and respect. It increases their confidence, motivation and aspiration.”
England and Middlesex fast bowler Finn added: “It is integral that initiatives like Chance to Shine happen for the good of the game. They introduce children to cricket from an early age and give them the opportunity to learn key life skills. We are indebted to them and I’m proud to support the charity this evening.”
Chance to Shine was launched in 2005 to reverse the decline of cricket in state schools and, today, three million children (of which 46 per cent are girls) in nearly 12,000 schools and 100 community “Street” projects are benefiting from the “power of cricket” as a result of the charity’s efforts.
Speaking about this work, Lord King said: “Chance to Shine has never lost its way. Since 2005 we have given three million children a chance to discover themselves. We are providing an education that extends way beyond the classroom and the National Curriculum.
“Young people are gaining self-esteem and learning how to win and lose, how to be ferociously competitive on the playing field and friends off it. Chance to Shine is the biggest participation programme this country has ever seen and includes children from all walks of life, of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, ability and disability.”
Visit chancetoshine.org to find out more about the charity’s work.