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Club at the heart of community

In last week’s Gazette it was reported that a planning application by Kent County Cricket Club had been turned down by the city councils planning committee (Blow For Cricket Club flats Plan, Kentish Gazette, December 11). During the committee meeting and in the subsequent report it was inferred the club is offering little of community value. This is far from the case.

Notwithstanding the merits of the planning application, the club would like to clarify the benefit to the community the club provides. This year the club attracted nearly 80,000 visitors to cricket and has created economic value to the local and regional economy esllmatcd at more than 10m. We employ 63 full- time stuff and 142 part-time staff. Kent Cricket runs extensive coaching programmes. In 2014 at total of 2,183 hours of coaching was delivered in 148 schools (primary and secondary), we ran 40 schools cricket festivals that saw 520 teams compete and coached a total of 41,867 children in Kent. Around 12,500 posters were given to children in Kent and we hosted 1,500 school children from 50 schools free tickets to Schools Day Out matches. We also strengthened club cricket by training 216 new cricket coaches, 37 new groundsman and 99 new umpires and scorers. The club runs the vibrant St Lawrence Clinic; 12,000 sesslnus across physiotherapy, osteopathy, massage, podiatry, pilates, yoga and fitness classes were completed in 2014. A sports centre provides a venue for netbell, six-a-side football and Indoor cricket leagues, This is hired to schools and clubs for facilities that they don’t have. A conference and banqueting facility is used by nearly 100 local organisatlons In the year, including Kent County Council, the NHS ncludlng regular blood collection service and Canterbury City Council. The “ugly supermarket” mentioned is actually a much-valued convenience store serving thousands of people in south Canterbury every week and we now have a café open year around which celebrates local produce and has, in a short time, built a loyal following.

Finally, to underline our commitment to being an integral part of the Canterbury scene we would draw readers attention to the club hosting the Spiegeltent as part of the Canterbury Festival, putting on the biggest community fireworks event on November 5 in the city, running a community open day attended by 3,ooo, supporting local charities and hosting the Anglican Church against Vatican City cricket match at the end of the season, which generated global interest. Far from offering little of community value Kent County Cricket Club stands at the heart ot both Canterbury and Kent life.

George Kennedy, chairman, and Jamie Clifford, chief executive, Kent County Cricket Club, St Lawrence ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury

Herne Bay Gazette, December 18th 2014