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LOCAL youngsters can enjoy free cricket sessions as part of the new Afro Caribbean Engagement programme launched in Bristol and backed by the Gloucestershire Cricket Board.

Known as ACE, the programme will provide two days of free holiday clubs at May Park Primary School, Coombe Road, Eastville.  Children in the school years between four (4) and seven (7) can join the action from 9.30am-4pm on Wednesday October 27 and Thursday October 28. Youngsters will also have the opportunity to play cricket and football, and even try gymnastics.

Theo Gordon, the Gloucestershire Cricket Board’s ACE Development Officer, said: “This is a great way to introduce this programme to the local community and introduce children to sports they might not have the chance to experience. It will be two days of nothing but fun.

“Most youngsters might be familiar with football and cricket but gymnastics could be something different for them, a sport they might only have seen on television.”

Gordon, who is an ECB Level Two coach, added: “Bristol is fortunate to be only the third city in the country after London and Birmingham to have the ACE project.”

GCB Chief Executive Steve Silk said: “Theo has been working with the cricket board over the last few years in different capacities such as a community and a performance coach, and now full time as cricket development officer.

“To see Theo’s growth into this role and his passion for cricket and Bristol … he  is the best man for this job and the cricket board is fully behind the Ace programme and its initiative to engage more with the Afro Caribbean community.”

The ACE programme is also promoting Black History Month with an exclusive showing of Fire In Babylon, the highly acclaimed film about the dominance of West Indies cricket in the 1980s.

The film will be shown on Friday October 29 at 7pm at the Rose Green Centre, Gordon Road, Whitehall – the home of Bristol West Indian Phoenix Cricket Club.

Several of the founding fathers of black cricket will attend the evening including former Gloucestershire captain Mark Alleyne, Steve Stephenson MBE, Guy Reid-Bailey OBE and Chevy Green, the director of ACE.

Theo Gordon also explained that ACE will be expanding its programmes across Bristol this autumn.

He said: “In November, our school programme will begin delivering in schools across Bristol, including St Barnabas Primary, Easton Primary, The Dolphin School and St Werburgh’s Primary. All these schools will get free PE lessons for a whole term as well as free after school club for their pupils.”

A vital aspect of ACE’s commitment to the community includes setting up community hubs in Bristol.

A highlight comes on November 5 when ACE will launch its first hub at the City Academy School’s sports hall and children from the schools programme and the community can learn more about the game of cricket and meet local players.

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