CHILDREN from deprived backgrounds, diverse communities and disability groups will benefit from a new initiative.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's new scheme is set up to deal with the impact of Covid-19 across Hampshire.

This £1million investment sees the ECB partner with LV= General Insurance to financially support focus areas of the grassroots cricket community affected by the pandemic.

With approximately 2.5 million male and female recreational cricketers across the UK, professional Mark Wood highlighted the importance after beginning his own journey to the World Cup at Ashington Cricket Club.

He said: “I am delighted to help launch #Funds4Runs.

“I know from my experiences as a young cricketer that grassroots cricket is the heartbeat of the sport and being given that opportunity to access cricket is crucial in building a love for the game.

“Like many other players, I’ve been concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the game so a thank you to everyone at LV and the ECB for providing much needed support that will help English cricket to recover and thrive.”

Clubs from Hampshire can register their interest and apply for financial assistance to keep cricket projects on course over the coming months.

Heather Smith, managing director of LV= GI said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been felt by everyone and the efforts of the cricket community to get the professional game up and running has been immense.

"However, at a local level, cricket has been less readily available or fundamentally more challenging to get involved in due to the pandemic.

"Having had such a long association with cricket, we felt very conscious of the need to do what we can to help rebuild the lives and future of cricket communities across the UK."