UK Government

Department For International Development: Iconic fast bowler helps young offenders bounce back

Press Release   •   Dec 02, 2009 11:58 GMT

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh is helping keep Jamaica’s young offenders on the right line, through a cricket based project funded by the UK Government.

The Courtney Walsh Foundation is running the Second Chance project, which helps define boundaries for boys under 18 in young offender institutions and supports their transition back into the community.

The initiative combines cricket training with instructions in life skills. West Indies internationals including Jimmy Adams and Wes Hall have backed the scheme. Others such as Robert Samuels have joined in coaching sessions to inspire the boys and teach them about the spirit and rules of the game.

The UK has backed the project–through the Returns and Reintegration Fund - to which the Department for International Development is a major contributor.

The UK is working closely with the Jamaican Government to try and reduce re-offending across the island, and this project is one component of a larger £2.97 million programme that aims to improve the skills of probation and prison staff; expand rehabilitation services, and improve services for ex-offenders.

Teamwork, responsibility, self-reliance and respect for others are core to the game of cricket. As a cricketer Courtney Walsh had a legendary work ethic and was the first bowler to take 500 wickets in tests. Second Chance helps these young men apply these values to lessons in citizenship and encourages them to channel their energy into benefiting their community.

The UK’s funding also helps improve the skills of probation and prison staff in rehabilitating young offenders.

Development Minister Mike Foster said:

“Courtney Walsh, as one of test cricket’s great pace men, was famous for knocking grown men off their feet. Now he’s helping these young men get back on their feet, to rehabilitate them, and inspire them to be good citizens.

“This project instils values of integrity, diligence, collaboration and respect for the rules. Not only are these important in cricket, they will also help these young men in their transition from custody to community.”

Courtney Walsh said:

“The idea is to give young people a second chance, to stop them reoffending. UK funding has given a tremendous boost to the programme. It’s allowed us to extend our reach and long may that continue.

“As the programme develops and grows I hope to get some of the biggest names in Caribbean sport involved – footballers and track stars as well as cricketers.”

Notes to editors

  • Case study with photos available from DFID press office
  • The Returns and Reintegration Fund is a cross-government fund (FCO, UK Border Agency, DfID, Ministry of Justice) that builds upon the former Home Office and FCO Migration Funds. For more information please visit http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/managed-migration/
  • The Courtney Walsh foundation is a registered charity launched in November 2009 and will work in three main areas:
    • Street20 Cricket - a fast moving, affordable and sustainable version of cricket to be introduced to an initial 12 inner city Jamaican communities.
    • Disability Cricket - "enabling the disabled" will involve the development of cricket programmes visually impaired, physically disabled and learning disabled people.
    • Young Offender projects - using cricket in juvenile correctional institutions to engage young offenders and support their rehabilitation.

    Contacts

    NDS Enquiries
    Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
    ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk