Dwain Gill, the Development Officer in Grenada has said that the programme has been unearthing talent in unexpected places in the Spice Isle.
“What pleased me most was that Saint John Parish hasn’t been participating in tournaments for a long time but now with the Digicel Grassroots Programme we have them back in the fold. And we were genuinely surprised to see the talent coming out of that area in particular,” Gill explained.
The three month Under 15 phase of the programme has just been concluded across the Caribbean and the programme will now move on to catering to the Under 17s in the coming months.
“The Programme has really been an overwhelming success here in Grenada. You could see the participants demonstrating that they are learning by displaying the right things even as they enjoy playing the game,” Gill said.
“The kids have been coming out consistently, they have shown keen interest and they really look forward to the sessions so much so that when the sessions end they still want to stay on and play more,” Gill revealed.
“This programme is also a major social benefit to Grenada because many of the kids have nothing else to do so it keeps them meaningfully occupied while they have fun playing a game they love,” Gill opined.
“What we have seen is that the passion for cricket is very much there among the youths and we’re happy that the Digicel Grassroots Programme is nurturing that passion in the young people,” Gill said.
Charlie Jackson, Development Officer in the British Virgin Islands said that the Digicel Grassroots Programme has re-ignited the game in Tortola and they are aiming to expand to neighbouring Virgin Gorda in the coming months.
“The programme really reignited cricket at the junior level from a point of stagnation to actively encouraging the boys to get back into the hardball game. We were losing them left, right and center but now they are excited about the game,” Jackson said.
“It has brought consistency to our development plan. In the past there has been stop-start efforts which had left the kids disillusioned and bewildered about cricket but now it is consistent, regular and progressive and we’re seeing some good signs,” Jackson said.
“It was most encouraging to find so many boys interested in playing the game and we have uncovered some good talent who we think will do well in the future,” Jackson added.
The Grenada programme included over 150 youngsters while in the British Virgin Islands over 30 youths participated.
The second phase of the Digicel Grassroots Club Grant is now open. Clubs can apply for grants of up to US$5000 to fund training programmes, purchase cricket equipment or build or upgrade facilities.