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Dulwich Village’s Griffin Sports Ground to become ‘major community sports hub’

Griffin Sports Ground will become the first in the UK to give priority to women and girls cricket.

The London Youth Sports Trust, a new charity partnership between Lambeth Tigers and Dulwich Cricket Club, is taking over the lease later this year.

The charity says it is investing in the Dulwich Village sports ground’s facilities after striking a deal with the Dulwich Estate. The ground is currently run by King’s College London.

The charity says its mission is to provide sport pitches for young people from state schools and deprived backgrounds and to get more women and girls’ into cricket and football.

It is also hoping to work with other clubs, community groups and get residents involved in the clubs.

As well as becoming the first site in the UK to give priority to women and girls’ cricket teams, the ground will also become a new permanent home for Lambeth Tigers Football Club.

Stephen Grey, chair of the new charity and a parent at Lambeth Tigers said: “The Griffin is going to transform the opportunities available in south London to two groups who are among those with most to gain from community sport – young people growing up with the extreme stress of living in high crime neighbourhoods but who deserve the best, and women and girls, who often take second place in sports grounds everywhere.

“We are hugely excited to take on this beautiful sports ground, and to develop it as a sporting hub for everyone from all communities and backgrounds. 

“It will have lifelong benefits for the children and young people who play football and cricket there.”

Last week Lambeth Tigers, with support from Dulwich Cricket Club, launched a fundraising appeal to help restore the ground. At the time of writing, they had already raised £16,000 toward their £22,000 target.


Lambeth Tigers founders David and Jamahl with Jadon Sancho

Lambeth Tigers was formed in 1995 and re-founded 10 years ago in the Loughborough and Angeltown Estates in Brixton by two youth workers, David Marriott and Jamahl Jarrett. 

Both turned away from involvement in gangs after David’s brother was murdered, and instead focused on the power of football to transform lives.

Jamahl Jarrett said: “Everyone has been talking about the amazing sporting talent that’s coming up from south London – but the facilities on offer do not match the potential. 

“We believe every child and young person has an equal right to enjoy quality sport facilities, and the opportunity and development that results from that. 

“We see the Griffin as a place that brings kids from all backgrounds and communities together. It’s going to be massive for our club and our players, and it’s going to welcome all.”

Samantha Krafft, membership secretary of Dulwich Cricket Club, said the club was seeing a ‘surge of interest’ from girls in particular, but a shortage of places to play was holding them back.

“There’s a shortage of good quality pitches in London, and many of those have long-standing use arrangements with men’s and boys’ teams,” she said. 

“The Griffin will be the first cricket ground where women and girls come first – it’s what we need to achieve our dream.”

The club has doubled the size of its women’s and girls’ section to more than 150 in the past eighteen months, in line with cricket’s status as one of the fastest-growing female sports. The club currently has ten girls, aged between ten and eighteen, in Surrey County Cricket Club’s performance programme. 

Women’s head coach Kira Chathli, who plays professionally for the South East Stars and Surrey County Cricket Club, says the ground will be a gamechanger for the sport in Southwark.

“When I started playing cricket at Dulwich, I was pretty much the only girl in the boys’ team,” she said. 

“Now, I’m coaching well over a hundred players in girls-only sessions every week. 

“The Griffin means we can keep growing – it’s going to change the game for women’s and girls’ cricket in south London.”


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