Service users on the Newhaven unit at Fieldhead in Wakefield have been taking part in cricket coaching sessions led by professional coaches from Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
The cricket sessions were just one of the external sports sessions set up after service users on the Newhaven advocacy group came up with the idea of having rugby and cricket sessions for people to take part in. It was felt that these sessions would help motivate service users as well as being an opportunity to include other service users from across the Trust’s Forensic BDU, such as the Bretton Centre and Newton Lodge.
Occupational therapy (OT) staff including Antony Pickering at Newhaven, Paula Thompson an OT student and Arshad Mahmood OT assistant were then instrumental in approaching external providers to facilitate the session and managed to get Castleford Tigers and Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) involved.
YCCC provided a structured 10-week course of cricket coaching. The hour long training sessions focused on improving the cricket skills of bowling, batting, fielding and understanding cricketing techniques, but the key emphasis was on communication and teamwork.
Staff at Newhaven are always looking for different activities that can motivate and engage residents. The cricket sessions gave people the chance to try their hand at brand new activities, learn new skills or develop existing ones. The group have been able to benefit from using the new Newton Lodge sports hall, which meant that come rain or shine the sessions could still go ahead and that more service users from across the Forensic BDU wards could take part together. Having a variety of wards involved in the sessions was a huge positive as it increased social interaction between different service users and helped to build confidence. It is hoped this joint working across the different wards will continue into the future.
For the 10th session service users were invited to Yorkshire’s Headingly Carnegie coaching facility. Service users who regularly attended the on site sessions had the chance to train and play cricket using the professional facilities and were able to take on the bowling machine- firing cricket balls at full pace towards their waiting bats- a real test for their cricket skills.
OT Anthony Pickering said, “It’s great that we have been able to build on the work done with Castleford Tigers and work in partnership with Yorkshire County Cricket to deliver new experiences that can lead onto future opportunities. The sessions have helped improve their physical health as well as their social and emotional wellbeing. Being able to go to the Headingley training facilities was absolutely fantastic and a once in a lifetime opportunity! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we’d welcome the chance to have more cricket sessions with them in the future.
Both the sports sessions have been a great success and an added bonus has been giving staff across the wider Forensic BDU the chance to work together and develop ideas together making the use of new facilities. I hope it inspires other staff within the Trust to look at the expertise available within our communities and see there may be future possibilities for partnership work.”