A new community initiative is helping support displaced people in Somerset through one of our county’s favourite summer activities – cricket.

Somerset has a long history of welcoming people who have been forced to leave their homes due to fear of violence or persecution. Anyone who finds themselves placed in Somerset will be supported by Somerset Council working alongside a range of charities and partner organisations.

The Maqbul Project has been organised by the Somerset Cricket Foundation with funding from Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) through Sport England’s Together Fund.

Taking its name from the Afghan Persian word for ‘beautiful’ and ‘accepted’, Maqbul has a simple aim – to use cricket to impact positively on the lives of asylum seekers and refugees in Somerset.

Training and matches have been taking place at North Petherton and Weston-super-Mare Cricket Clubs, supported by groups including Charis Refugees, SASP and Voluntary Action North Somerset.

Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture at Somerset Council, said:

“Somerset is proud to be a friendly and welcoming county and we’re also proud of our cricket, so this is a fantastic project which combines both. Maqbul is important because it unites people and brings communities together. There are people taking part from multiple countries, speaking multiple languages – but they are playing a great sport and hopefully having a great time.”

Managing Director of Somerset Cricket Foundation, Jon Bendle Said

As a Foundation we are striving to make cricket both inclusive and accessible across all our communities. This multi-agency approach to delivery means that the Maqbul project is a shining example of what is possible when we develop and build strong local partnerships.

The programme has developed into something which is both exciting and hugely rewarding for Somerset Cricket Foundation to be part of. The passion, desire and enthusiasm of the participants is overwhelming, and it’s so rewarding to see these groups becoming true communities through cricket. The key piece of this project is to integrate the participants into the local cricket community by giving opportunities at local clubs.”