Cricket

More than just cricket

SDC using T20 competition as catalyst for building better communities

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

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There is no doubt that the Social Development Commission (SDC)/Wray & Nephew National T20 Community Cricket Competition sparks excitement and entertainment across the length and breadth of Jamaica.

But for sponsors and organisers, the competition is more than cricket. More importantly, the competition acts as fuel to drive social development and, by extension, enhance the health and well-being of communities in the country.

The competition has significantly assisted SDC in its community-building efforts for the past 12 years, as the social impact across the island has been second to none, with over 200 teams taking part each year.

This year's recently concluded 13th edition was no different, attracting some 229 teams for four months of riveting action, which culminated on Sunday with the St Mary-based Gayle Cricket Club (CC) copping the national crown and pocketing the $1.2 million prize to go with it.

Gayle CC registered 208-6 to better Westmoreland's Orange Hill CC by four wickets in the high-scoring contest that saw the latter first posting what appeared an imposing 203-7 at the Noranda Rhoades Sports Complex in Discovery Bay, St Ann.

While heartened by tremendous growth, success and support of what some consider to be the 'largest cricketing event' in the country, Terrence Richards, SDC's senior programme coordinator, explained the true meaning behind the initiative.

“The impact has been tremendous, because we do not only measure it by the development and growth of cricket, what we aredoing in the community is development business, and one of the things that we ensure is that any community that wins, whether a parish stage or the national phase, must make a contribution to their community through a project.

“That is the main thing for us. It's not about a cricket; everybody is enjoying themselves, but come the end of today (Sunday), they (winning team) are required to submit a project proposal to do a project in their community,” Richards told the Jamaica Observer.

“We up-front 15 per cent of their prize money to complete the project, and that is the mandatory minimum amount.if they want to do more, they can garner resources from other sources. But that is it, and they must complete this project by October 31, otherwise we hold their prize money beyond November when we normally distribute it to them,” he added.

That said, Richards noted that their $30 million investment each year, solely for the operational part of the competition, is just a scratch on the surface of how much is really invested in the programme.

“I think it is kind of incalculable the amount of money that we have expended in this. At the Social Development Commission, we carry out our work through seven programmes; sport for community development, under which the national T20 competition falls, is just one of them.

“Sport acts as a catalyst to get the excitement created in the community to build camaraderie, and through that we carry out other programmes. But this is a stimulus for the other programmes that we do,” Richards shared.

Nadia Kiffin-Green, marketing manager of J Wray & Nephew, pointed out that her company's investment of just over $42 million, including a prize of $6,000 to patrons who take a catch in the crowd, was worth every cent.

“This is the first time that we're sponsoring the competition on a national level and we're very happy with the sponsorship. The Social Development Commission is definitely all about supporting communities and we at Wray & Nephew, see how important it is to support communities, so it's a mutually beneficial relationship,” she said.

Meanwhile, Courtney Francis, CEO of Jamaica Cricket Association, lauded SDC and their sponsors for the initiative.

“It is tremendous, cricket being used as a vehicle is significant to us at the Jamaica Cricket Association. For the SDC to use it to encompass the entire country is [good], because [this is reach] that we normally would not have had. So we are happy and we hope that the government will continue to support the SDC in this venture to enhance communities or use cricket as the vehicle to do so,” Francis noted.


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