Four years ago, Natarsha Williams started the Cricket Without Boundaries program as a way to give back to her local community but it has since developed into a global initiative.
Recently she was named as a Community Champion by Cricket Australia, as part of its campaign to highlight efforts to improve the sport at a grassroots level.
Natarsha is a member of the junior committee at the Wendouree Cricket Club, as well as performing a number of other roles, but her passion is the Cricket Without Boundaries program.
Based in Ballarat, Cricket Without Boundaries began in 2014 as a way to get local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children involved in cricket but now sends second-hand cricket equipment to developing countries around the world.
“This was just an idea that I had one day,” Natarsha said modestly.
“I noticed the kids had all this new gear and I wondered where all the old gear went.
“I thought perhaps if we went and collected it and donated it to someone less fortunate than ourselves…that’s how it all began.”
This venture is a club initiative, Natarsha added, and donations are gratefully received form other clubs and the public.
“I estimate that we have received about 140 sets of pads, so far, so relatively small so far but from little things big things grow,” Natarsha explained.
“But this year we will probably do the same, so from a small beginning it is quickly expanding now.”
To date five indigenous communities in the Northern Territory have received cricket gear as well as children in Nepal, Vanuatu, Bangladesh, Cambodia and India.
There are also plans to send items to Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.
“We accept all types of cricketing gear – plastic cricket gear or real cricket gear, helmets, gloves, clothing, shoes – a lot of the kids in developing countries don’t have shoes,” Natarsha said.
“Doing this is a huge buzz. It makes me really happy all the time. Seeing smiles on kids’ faces, nothing beats that. Photos are taken of the kids when they receive their gear so our donors can see where it has gone to.”
Items are collected all year round.
Anyone wishing to support this cause can contact the Wendouree Cricket Club on: email@example.com