In her working life 25-year-old Rosalie Birch juggles three different bats. Not only is she the PR Officer for the charity the Cricket Foundation, but she is also one of its Coaching Ambassadors and a member of the England Women’s Cricket team.
Rosalie has always loved cricket and has been a member of the England Women’s Cricket team since 2003. After studying Linguistics at the University of Sussex, she got a job working at Sussex County Cricket Club as their press officer. However, as the Women’s team still has amateur status, it became really difficult to balance playing for her country while holding down a job. Things changed in the spring of 2008. The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) supports the cricketing charity the Cricket Foundation and its major initiative Chance To Shine, a national campaign providing structured coaching and a competition programme to state schools. ‘It was decided to offer contracts to work for Chance To Shine to members of the England Women’s team, which is how I became its PR,’ explains Rosalie. ‘PR works quite well for me because I love words and talking and communicating, and if I believe in something I can sell it well. The other girls (on the team) do 25 hours a week coaching for Chance To Shine for eight months of the year on a 12-month rolling contract. I split my time between doing some coaching and also acting as the PR. I’ve really enjoyed doing the coaching because the impact is immediate. We are about providing opportunities, especially for kids that have difficulties or problems, and we provide an outlet for them to do something productive with their time. Cricket is quite unique and has this lovely etiquette and sporting spirit and that’s what we try and get across – being good sports together, team work, and being an individual within a team. I’m really glad to be able to pass on that educational side of cricket.’ Chance to Shine is now in its fourth year of a ten year plan to hit a third of all state schools across the country and is already in front of its target — in 2008, 226,844 children took part including 102,080 girls.
The benefits have also been felt by the England Women’s team which now has the time to train properly while earning a living and won the World Cup in Australia in March. Although she is currently out of the squad, Rosalie is anxious to regain her position before this summer’s full series against Australia and, of course, the all-important Ashes, and says her love of cricket remains undiminished. ‘When I was younger I was quite shy, but through sport I have grown as a person and become more outgoing,’ she explains. ‘Having played cricket for England I’ve been to lots of different countries and seen some amazing things, including meeting the queen. It’s great to show all these kids, especially the girls, what opportunities cricket could open up for them.’
Tuesday, June 23rd , is Chance To Shine’s National Cricket Day with members of both England’s Men’s and Women’s cricket teams joining in activities across the country. For more information go to www.chancetoshine.org