Grass roots cricket has received a massive boost in Leicester and the East Midlands, thanks to a grant of almost £1 million from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Sport England. As part of the £21 million redevelopment of Crown Hills Community College, a multi-sport hall containing high-level cricketing equipment has been built, offering world class facilities to aspiring cricketers from the region and beyond.

The facility was officially opened on October 16th by Leicester Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, ECB head Giles Clarke and was attended by a number of high profile international cricketers from the area; these included England batsman James Taylor and Katherine Brunt, who spearheads England Women’s bowling attack. Unlike similar projects funded by the “Building Schools for the Future” initiative, the sports hall at Crown Hills offers approximately double the amount of floor space and equipment, and makes Crown Hills the only specialist sports college in Leicester that has cricket as its main focal point.

Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket will use the hall as a base and training facility for all of its age-group sides, and the facility is expected to boost the region’s dominance in both boys and girls cricket. With an increasing number of girls getting involved in cricket, the new hall provides a much-needed specialist facility to enable better coaching and the continued development of female participation in the sport.

The sports hall at Crown Hills will also be opened up to the local community and to cricketers from across the East Midlands, ensuring that hundreds of potential stars of the future can enjoy the cutting-edge facility. In addition to its cricket focus, the hall also offers dance studios, a fitness suite and 8 sports courts. School and community leaders have praised the developments at Crown Hills, with head teacher Bernadette Green noting the positive impact on student engagement and the enhanced learnign environment at the new school.

Many other schools in Leicester will benefit from funds offered by the Building Schools for the Future project, but few will be able to rival Crown Hills and its impressive, state of the art cricket-led sports centre. Although the hall has been in use since November 2013, the official opening now paves the way for further groups to participate and take advantage of the remarkable facilities on offer.