The first Wicketz South West Festival of 2023 took place in Bristol on February 15. Wicketz Development Officer, Katie Holland, gives us a recap of the day.

18 young people from the Wicketz Plymouth programme joined up with their counterparts at Bristol and Cardiff for a day of celebrating diversity, inclusion and cricket.

To kick-start the festival, participants were put into teams where they were encouraged to meet new people, discuss team values and provide support for each other throughout the day. Encouraging young people from different backgrounds and cultures to focus on their team values allowed for a greater sense of inclusion and team cohesion. Some of the team values the groups came up with were being respectful, keep smiling, teamwork, kindness and being modest.

Empire Fighting Chance delivering a non-contact boxing activities.Once the team values were in place, the groups took part in a workshop delivered by Empire Fighting Chance, a local organisation who use non-contact boxing and intensive personal support to challenge and inspire young people to realise their potential, and fight the impact of deprivation on their lives. They led the young people through a series of activities which focused on balance, coordination and speed. This was a fantastic opportunity for young people to try new a sport while working together as a team.

One of our Wicketz Plymouth participants said: "I loved learning about boxing, it was fun to try a sport I’ve never done before. The gloves were weird, but I enjoyed using them to do different punching techniques."

In the afternoon, the participants took part in cricket tournaments against other teams and Wales Wicketz Development Officer, Tom Barry, delivered a workshop on anti-social behaviour. The workshop aimed to create a strong sense of community with Wicketz, where young people are encouraged to take responsibility for the environment and each other, which is crucial for preventing anti-social behaviour. Our participants really enjoyed the workshop and gained a greater awareness of the impact of anti-social behaviour.

Overall, the festival was a huge success with 95% of participants saying they enjoyed the day and 98% saying they made new friends.