IT is a sport that traditionally has never had much of a foothold in Glasgow.

But cricket is helping to bring the city’s multi-cultural communities together.

Wicketz, which started up in Springburn last year, has helped to alter perceptions of the game and change the lives of young people along the way.

“We didn’t know anyone in Glasgow when we came here at first,” explains Tracy Emwinghare, whose 10-year-old son Oghosa takes part in the club.

“We moved here from Palma in Italy in 2015 and everyone is so welcoming, so friendly.

“It was hard for the children at first, though, and that’s why this project has been so helpful. It really brings people together.”

Created and funded by Lord’s Taverners charity and delivered by Cricket Scotland, Wicketz is supported by the community sports hub and Active Schools networks, Glasgow Caledonian University and Achieve More Scotland.

The aim is to use free cricket sessions to drive social inclusion and engagement in areas of deprivation.

Wicketz now consists of three hubs in different parts of Glasgow. It unites young people from different races and religions, and the success of the Springburn hub embodies this, with kids of 11 nationalities coming together, including members of the refugee community.

Nauman Javaid, project coordinator, explains: “In Springburn we’ve got kids from China, where cricket is totally unknown, and from African countries. It’s not just the traditional Asian cricketing countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

“It’s a very diverse culture and a real family atmosphere, with lots of brothers and sisters. And they have so much desire when it comes to the cricket.”

Nauman adds: “It’s not just about cricket, though. These kids love to play but we also run workshops about issues they are facing in the community, things like drugs, alcohol, gangs and street crime.

“We look at the negative effects of getting involved in the wrong things, and the positive effects of being involved in sport. And the kids have responded really well.”

The driving force behind Wicketz was Ammar Ashraf, Cricket Scotland community engagement coordinator.

Ammar says: “Wicketz is all about developing people. It gives people the chance to participate in cricket, which is great, but it also offers them lifestyle and life skills workshops, first-aid training, career advice and guidance on social issues.

“We are not necessarily expecting the participants to go on to play international cricket, the priority is getting children more active and helping them develop as people and encouraging them to make positive life choices. We also want them to feel safe and secure in a fun environment where they learn about teamwork and the importance of discipline and respect.”

He adds: “In Springburn, Pollokshields and Govanhill, we are using community spaces that have become disused and revitalising them.

Nauman, who previously ran cricket sessions through Active Schools in Lanarkshire, and whose full-time role with Wicketz is funded by Spirit Of 2012, says:“It’s all about inclusion. I myself feel a strong sense of belonging in the Scottish sporting system, and that’s what I want the kids to feel as well.”

Is sport bringing people together in your community?

Tell us about it by emailing Streets Ahead funding is available - email for a copy of the application form.