International Women's Day: A Spotlight

To mark International Women's Day, we put the spotlight on someone key to the success of increasing participation in cricket across the county, Schools Engagement Manager Emily Munro

To mark Sunday 8th March as International Women's Day, we caught up with Emily Munro, Schools Engagement Manager at the Ageas Bowl, to discuss her role within the sport.

Emily is an integral part of the Ageas Bowl's internal team, working as part of Hampshire Cricket Board to encourage schools from across the county to engage with cricket.

Here's her story:

I’ve never actually played cricket but my background is in sports science and working with schools – I grew up dancing and playing hockey.

I love working with different types of children and for the past six years I have worked at The Ageas Bowl.  

I was brought in as a Community Education Officer to foster relationships between the ground and local schools, essentially to get young people in to showcase cricket and the professional side of the game at Hampshire. And along the way, changing perceptions of cricket and making it accessible.

Schools need a strong educational reason to come off site, so we have really tailored the experience for them at The Ageas Bowl - we’ve built a classroom on site as a focal point for school visits and tours, hosting literacy and numeracy sessions linked to cricket and to the curriculum.

When we put the classroom together originally we looked at design and ran focus groups with local schools. We created a huge wall graphic in there with the history of Hampshire Cricket, interspersed with milestones in pop culture.

We’ve also hosted disadvantaged groups, college and university students on courses such as sports management. 

There’s a matchday element where we try to bring schools to the ground for the Vitality Blast and host a dedicated schools match. We are aiming to get thousands of children in on 10 June this year for a T20 fixture. 

I love arranging for the children to meet the players, have autographs – then afterwards sending them photos as a memento.

My role has since evolved with Hampshire Cricket Board, where I focus on coordinating with schools to get them involved with Chance to Shine, giving kids a taste of cricket in their own setting. 

Through Chance to Shine’s help and better funding, we now employ a full team of coaches, which I manage, going into schools across the county.

Rain, snow or shine, they are in schools all year round. Cricket, through us and Chance to Shine, now has a footprint in over 200 schools in Hampshire and our ultimate aim further down the line is to touch all of the 500 schools in the area.

Activity has also increased with the All Stars Cricket programme as we are now connecting schools with outside opportunities at local clubs. I also work closely with a colleague here who is focused solely on clubs looking to grow their women’s and girls’ section.

We have such positive feedback from schools nowadays. It has moved on from its perception of “hard-to-teach” or “boring” to now hearing that teachers increasingly have the confidence to teach cricket, even when they are not supported by a coach.

I think because we are going into schools at Key Stage 1 (five to eight-year-olds), more and more schools now are saying: “I can do this” which is fantastic - that makes me feel very proud of what we do.

Before I worked at the Ageas Bowl, I had no experience of cricket and felt a bit like a duck out of water.  Now I can go and talk about cricket to anybody, potentially even changing their perceptions about the game, and I like that.

I don’t think I’m the typical person involved in the sport, but I bring something different and valuable to the role.

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