Landmark ACE Programme set for Essex and East London


The pioneering African Caribbean Engagement Programme (ACE), founded by Ebony Rainford-Brent is to be rolled out in Essex in 2022.

The initiative, which has already achieved success in London, Birmingham and Bristol, provides tailored environments for the development of cricketers from Black communities.

ACE recognised the progress already made by Essex Cricket in communities across the county and, along with the ECB, have added their support.

ACE will assist the Essex Cricket in the Community Team in the delivery of existing programmes as well as developing new initiatives to increase participation in Essex and East London.

Since its launch in South London, ACE has already created cricketing opportunities for more than 6,000 young people through its community hubs, academy, elite programme, trials and schools’ sessions.

Over 10,000 young cricketers are expected to pass through ACE’s Talent ID programme each year in the new areas, with over 40,000 school children due to participate in ACE school schemes annually, with sessions due to launch in both primary and secondary schools in those areas.

Lauren Onojaife, Girls Development Officer at Essex Cricket, said: “Essex Cricket in the Community have made great strides in getting young girls involved in cricket.

“This is another major milestone in the development of our community programmes and will lead to yet more engagement from underrepresented communities.”

Asher Roberts, East London Community Coach at Essex Cricket said: “Cricket is a game for everyone and Essex and East London is a perfect example of how the game can bring cultures together.

“We’re fortunate as a region to have such diverse communities and it’s fantastic that alongside programmes like ACE we can continue to bring cricket into more homes.”

Ebony Rainford-Brent, chair of the ACE programme, said: “This is a really significant moment for ACE. Although we started small in south London, we always envisaged this programme was going to have a big national impact. To be in six cities and on both sides of the Thames in London within two years of existence proves that our model is starting to change the game.

“ACE is focused on connecting the dots to help under-represented groups from the grassroots to the elite. We know this programme will help open up new pathways to do exactly that and are excited to partner with the teams at all these different counties to have an impact.

“We’re really grateful to the ECB for this meaningful support, allowing us to build on our initial backing from Sport England and start taking ACE to the next level – a truly national organisation.”