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24th June 2024 News

Cricket group for people recovering from substance use in Hartlepool supported by Durham Cricket

A cricket group for people recovering from substance use in Hartlepool is benefitting from equipment donated by Durham Cricket.

The group, run by Hartlepool’s Integrated Substance Misuse Service (START), meets every Monday from 10am-12pm at Park Drive, home of Hartlepool Cricket Club.

Launched only in May, it has ten members and is actively seeking others with the aim of forming a team for a competitive cricket match to be held in September as part of National Recovery Month. It is open to anyone aged 18 and over who is in recovery, and family members are also welcome to get involved.

Craig Blundred, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Park Drive is a jewel in the crown of Hartlepool venues, providing a quiet, peaceful and friendly environment away from distractions, and those who attend tell us how much they enjoy taking part in the cricket net sessions. For many, it is also a chance to learn a completely new sport.

“We’d like to thank Hartlepool Cricket Club for their invaluable support in allowing us to use their nets each week for such a positive project.

“Our thanks also go to Durham Cricket who have so generously donated shirts and other kit items, including protective helmets, which mean that group members really do look the part.”

Representatives of Durham Cricket, including all-rounder Jonathan Bushnell who also plays for Hartlepool Cricket Club, attended a recent nets session to hand over the equipment and meet members of the group.

Blundred added: “A key part of recovery is about connecting with other people, and taking part in these nets means a lot to group members as it gives them a sense of belonging and something to plan for at a set time each week. The project also enables them to become active, build a team spirit and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.”

One group participant said: “I enjoy coming to the sessions to see the lads, similar like-minded lads. It keeps me fit and it’s just a good couple of hours. When you are in recovery you can’t take a step backwards and coming to a place such as this is a chance to have a laugh, share your stories and keep fit at the same time.”

Cameron Rochow, Durham Cricket Community Engagement Officer, said: “At Durham Cricket it is important that we work with local community groups, so to be able to support the work which START are doing in Hartlepool is fantastic. For these participants to take up cricket and enjoy their self is fantastic to see. It was a pleasure to attend the session and support the group with equipment for the club. We look forward to seeing how they progress as the group continues to grow.”

Anyone wishing to join the cricket group should contact Andrew Relton by telephoning (01429) 285000 or emailing

The group is part of a wider Inclusion Sports Club being developed by START, a partnership between Hartlepool Borough Council and Foundations, which also includes opportunities to play football and attend local gyms. These activities are, in turn, part of a much wider programme of visible recovery in the community.


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