Scope North West's partnership with Lancashire County Cricket Club combines fundraising with raising awareness of the charity's Time to Get Equal campaign, which fights to make shopping, entertainment and sporting facilities accessible to disabled people.
Scope approached England captain Andrew Flintoff's county side to help it implement measures required by the Disability Discrimination Act as it formulated plans to develop its Old Trafford ground. The partnership was launched in August, since when Scope has been talking to disabled cricket fans and has established a focus group to respond to the club's plans. When the development is complete, Scope will perform an access audit of the ground and could award a bronze, gold or platinum medal.
The charity already works with football clubs Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United in the north west, but the partnership with Lancashire is its first foray into the summer game. "In the cricketing world, I think it's unique," says Cathy Elliot, regional appeals manager at Scope North West. "The club has been forward-thinking and honest."
Lancashire has already introduced a disabled supporters' viewing platform as part of its redevelopment plans, and it is mulling over further initiatives.
"It's appropriate to have the very best advice available to us going into a new stadium," says a spokesman for the club. "There is no better information than the knowledge acquired by communicating with our own customers. Scope will assist us in doing that."
The partnership has also spilled over into fundraising for Scope. Lancashire launched a text appeal during a day/night match in August, and the two organisations are meeting in October to draw up plans for more fundraising activities.