As you may know, the CL Child Safeguarding & Inclusion Committee has recently issued an Inclusion Questionnaire to clubs with follow-up support available from our Development Officers.
One of the members of the Committee (Meena Baskarasubramanian) described how this work started:
“We looked at how other countries are dealing with inclusion. We looked at Diversity & Inclusion programmes completed in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. While doing this research, we identified an online self-assessment checklist devised by Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in Australia.
This checklist was devised by their Department for sport clubs to self-assess themselves to see where they stand in terms of inclusion and diversity in their clubs. We took that idea and tailored it to create a self-assessment questionnaire for our clubs across various areas - from management, membership, facilities and in general attitude and willingness to embrace diversity and promote inclusion.”
So, what does Cricket Leinster hope clubs get out of this Questionnaire (self-assessment) approach?
“Well we are delighted that most clubs see the self-assessment process as a means of understanding where their club is strong on ‘inclusion’ and equally where the club has some opportunities to improve its inclusivity approach. It has also helped clubs to create action plans around how to improve over the next 12/18 months.”
Cricket Leinster and its Child Safeguarding & Inclusion Committee see this self-assessment approach as a simple method for clubs to honestly evaluate where they stand in terms of diversity & inclusion across various areas in their club and to identify which areas they can improve. Honesty and action are required for this questionnaire to benefit each club.
Our development staff have asked a number of clubs to share their completed Inclusion Questionnaires so that we can identify any common themes - so far we can see that in some clubs there is a lack of gender balance at committee level as well as a lack of female participation in many cases. In other instances, we can see that there is a lack of engagement with the broader community. This can be due to limited resources in terms of volunteer capacity and/or lack of a development officer in the immediate vicinity. Within the action plans that some clubs shared with us, we can see they are all focused on enhancing their engagement with their local community and schools with a particular emphasis on enrolling new women and youth members.
Balbriggan CC has just completed the questionnaire - Club Honorary Secretary (Albert Harper) understands the importance of these club surveys and was quick to point out the successful inclusion policies currently in place at the club:
“We established very close ties with schools in the Balbriggan area, particularly at Balbriggan Educate Together school whose pupils would be from a vast variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. While participating in the Primary schools Leprechaun Cup, many boys and girls have been welcomed into the club following their first introduction to the game at school.
Many of these children would be from ‘New Irish’ families and have had a very positive introduction and integration within the club over recent years. We are proud to be a multi-cultural club at the heart of the community.”
Judith Neuman-Jones, another member of Cricket Leinster’s Child Safeguarding & Inclusion committee sums things up well when she remarked:
“I love the international flavour of cricket in Ireland. If we can make cricket not just accessible but welcoming to all, there is every prospect of growing and sustaining our beautiful sport.”
We will report further progress on this over the next few weeks – please continue to focus on ‘inclusivity’ at your club to ensure club cricket in Leinster is always a welcoming place for all.