IN the summer of 2018, building work began at The Ockendon Academy for a large sports hall featuring 6 courts, changing facilities and office space.
The sports hall will be utilised for a variety of sports, both for the students at the academy and for use by the local community. The hall has been specifically designed for cricket, badminton and basketball but will have other purposes throughout the academic year.
The Ockendon Academy has been working in partnership with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Essex Cricket. The ECB are providing financial support to the academy with £80,000 grant funding, allowing wider access to cricket and meeting the shortfall of bespoke facilities for local clubs.
The Academy will be able to promote cricket as one of their core sports due to the partnership with Essex Cricket. Aside from excitement and competitive fun, cricket provides its participants with several other benefits, with the game serving to improve one’s physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Like most competitive sports, cricket requires skill, strength, stamina and coordination. “Top level cricketers need extraordinary hand-eye coordination to hit the pitched ball, which can be bowled at speeds approaching 90 mph, and fielders need speed and athleticism to chase the ball, along with coordination and agility to throw the ball overhand.”
Players learn to deal with success and failure, benefiting from the sport’s intense pressure and transferring the lessons into other aspects of life. Cricket players must work together to accomplish goals; fostering camaraderie, cooperation and a sense of unity. This teamwork requires communication, helping to build new and stronger social relationships.
Ms Jo Rainey, Principal at The Ockendon Academy, commented: “We are delighted and excited about our partnership with the England & Wales Cricket Board and Essex Cricket. This partnership will not only help encourage and support more people to take up cricket, but also give our students and community the chance to play in state-of-the-art indoor facilities. We would not have been able to do this without the support of the ECB. Cricket is a game anyone can play and get involved in and it is a fantastic way of bringing people together and playing sport, which helps towards them leading longer and healthier lives.”
Bruce Cruse, ECB Head of Participation, said:
“Projects like this are a key part of our plans to grow the game, get a bat and ball in more hands and ensure that cricket is a sport that is accessible for everyone. The new sports hall at The Ockendon Academy will help ensure that students and the local community have the opportunity to play the game in a way and a time that suits them.”
Dan Feist, Head of Cricket Operations, Essex Cricket in the Community, commented further:
“Essex Cricket is excited about the new development at The Ockendon Academy. This is another great example of the role that cricket can play in engaging partners and enhancing the local community. This new facility will support Essex in continuing to reach its aspiration of being the number one home-grown county.
The facility will also offer more participation opportunities in the area as well as providing an inspiring facility for the students to enjoy not only cricket, but the benefit of an active lifestyle.”
The new sports hall, due for completion in the summer term of 2019, will be a fantastic addition to the academy’s ever-growing range of facilities including: swimming pool, 4 court sports hall, fitness suite and large sports fields. All facilities are available for academy use and community use through lettings.
The Ockendon Academy is also eagerly anticipating the completion of 20 acres of playing fields which will be available from August 2021. This is currently planned to comprise of football and rugby pitches, extra cricket grounds and a multi-use games area.