The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced a new £2 million investment in programs aimed at engaging black and South Asian communities and educated children in the country.

The funding will be directed to five of the governing body’s partner charities over the next two-and-a-half years, forming part of the ECB’s response to a damning report published earlier this year.

The Independent Commission for Equality in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Potts, diagnosed structural and institutional racism, sexism and classism in the game, and called for wide-ranging measures to address issues of inclusivity.

The ECB has apologized unreservedly for these findings and is now providing increased monetary support to organizations already working in these areas in the hope of directly benefiting tens of thousands of participants.

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Ebony Rainford-Brent’s African Caribbean Engagement (ACE) programme, the South Asian Cricket Academy (SACA) and the MCC Foundation will join long-term partners Chance to Shine and Lord’s Taverners in sharing the new cash.

Richard Gould, ECB Chief Executive, said: “If we are to achieve our ambition of making cricket the most inclusive sport, we must break down the barriers that have prevented children and young people from state schools and ethnically diverse backgrounds from fulfilling their potential. Five charitable partnerships are focused on doing this.

“All of these partners have a proven track record, and by supporting their expertise we can give many more children the opportunity to play and fulfill their potential.

“By working together in a meaningful way, we can make a greater impact in tackling some of the challenges identified by the Independent Equality in Cricket Commission.”

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A Chance to Shine, which brings cricket into state schools and targets those with a high proportion of free school meals, will now reach an additional 20,000 children, with MCC able to expand its network of free-access regional coaching centers from 77 centres. to around 150 with a matching grant of £500,000.

Meanwhile, Lord’s Taverners will use its share to work with an additional 7,000 students with disabilities and special educational needs.

ACE and SACA have both successfully unearthed talent from black and South Asian communities that remain underrepresented in the professional game, and have joined as official partners of the ECB for the first time.

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