An initiative run by the NGO Voice of Parkwood inspired a group of 12 at-risk boys when they attended a cricket clinic on Friday 8 January.
Voice of Parkwood chairperson and religious leader Paul Philips says the boys were invited to attend the clinic as the youth are easily targeted by gangs.
“This was a programme that was hosted by St Augustines Cricket Club in Elfindale. It was a clinic to present youth with an alternative to gangs. Our next step is to engage parents in these kind of programmes as well, to promote and build family structures,” he says.
The boys who attended the clinic were also treated to some local and international cricket talent when South African fast bowler Vernon Philander and English left-handed batsman and right-arm off-spin bowler Moeen Ali visited the clinic.
Philips adds they are in the process of starting a similar project for girls in the area.
“We will be meeting to discuss a similar project for girls in our area. This meeting will also incorporate the plan to start a cricket club in Parkwood,” he says.
Philips says they will be looking at ways to use public open spaces that could be used for a mini-cricket field.
“We want a space where our youth can go, be safe and be constructive. We will be looking at having the areas fenced off with a roof and artificial grass for a playing field. This is all still in its planning stages but we hope it will be successful,” he says.
“We are looking forward to hosting the next life skills programme and ultimately having our youth reach for their dreams,” Philips says.