In 2013, the Chris Gayle Academy was launched in London with support from The Change Foundation, Comic Relief and Spartan Sports. The Academy aimed to develop the skills, access to education and employability of at-risk youth, while also providing an avenue for talented cricketers to reach their full potential.
Spartan ambassador Chris Gayle developed an ambitious five year plan for the academy, pledging to inspire three thousand children to stay in school while delivering high quality social impact programmes.
A truly community rooted project, the academy reflects the theme of ‘rising in the face of tribulation’, so pertinent to Gayle’s own journey.
“Investing in our children is investing in the future of our country… education is the key to unlocking our children’s future.” – Chris Gayle
Just under twenty people were selected for the first intake, aged between sixteen and twenty one; particularly refugees, ex-offenders, gang members, those excluded from school or those otherwise non-participative in education.
The academy course exhibited a self-development and employability focus, taught alongside a cricketing framework. Through the gentlemen’s game, academy members learnt important lessons in teamwork, communication and collective pride. Off the pitch, academy members developed personal plans for their future, while spending time volunteering in schools and clubs.
Two years later, and the Chris Gayle Academy has proudly expanded its reach into Jamaica; where it continues to provide opportunities for disadvantaged youth. The young West Indian academy members meet twice a week for cricket coaching, mathematics and English lessons as well as etiquette, public speaking and CPR training.
“This programme is not only about cricket and about creating the best cricketer. It’s all about life on a whole.” – Chris Gayle
Spartan Sports are honoured to provide important equipment and uniforms for the academy, helping it achieve its significant and life-changing objectives. Spartan ambassador Chris Gayle continues to give back to his community through the Academy and his Foundation.