One of those who was present to help with the launch of the new shop was Jack Leach, who scored that vital single in his key partnership with Ben Stokes against Australia with an M&H bat.
“Its great to be here supporting M&H and Activate the Church who are doing great things in the community is helping ex offenders to get back on their feet which is great,” the England spinner said.
The driving force behind the project which is known as TUFF, is the Rev Chris Kennedy who as well as being a very keen cricketer himself, he captains the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI, was recently appointed to the post of ‘Pioneer Sports Minister by the Bishop of Kensington.
“Very simply TUFF is an eight week course based on the initial letters of the word CRICKET- courage, respect, identity, character, knowledge, empathy and time,” the Sports Minister said.
Kennedy explained how Millichamp & Hall, who supply Middlesex CCC with cricket kit and send their bats all over the world from their workshops at the County Ground in Taunton, became involved in the project.
“I have had quite a lot to do with Rob Chambers who owns Miliichamp and Hall, in fact a couple of years ago he made a special bat for me to take out to Rome to present to the Pope.
“Rob is always very happy to be involved with community activities. I asked if he’d be interested in working with me to support us in the prison programme, and he was very keen and had been looking to open up an outlet in West London, so it worked out well for all of us. “
“I have also got a really good link with several local cricket clubs including Teddington they are 100% supportive and want to help these guys out. “
As part of the TUFF programme the reformed young offenders will spend a short while at the M&H workshops being upskilled to enable them to refurbish bats and knock them in which they will then be able to make use in the cricket shop in Teddington.
Rob Chambers from M&H said: “We are only too happy to support Chris Kennedy in his project using cricket as a way of helping young offenders. This is a great way of becoming involved with a community in a different part of the country and hopefully help someone in their quest to turn their lives around.”