The first time it was special but on the second occasion James Grindrod picked up an award at Lord’s it crowned a remarkable life changing journey.
Grindrod, 20, was recognised for his role as a participant in the Lord’s Taverners Super 1s programme in 2016 and five years later has scooped an Inspire Award at the same event for his work off the pitch, becoming a support coach and mentor at his local hub in Surrey, and securing himself full time employment.
Super 1s gives young people living with a disability aged 12-25 the chance to play regular, competitive cricket and by creating community cricket hubs where young people can receive coaching, participants have the chance to compete against their peers and enjoy the benefits of playing sport.
The programme breaks down barriers and empowers disabled young people to fulfil their potential and build life skills.
Grindrod, from Wimbledon, lives with autism and a communication disorder but has not let that stop him from taking on plenty of work experience, including 12 months at Lord’s Taverners, and credits the programme for helping him mature from boy to man.
“It felt quite special [to win the award], watching the video back it felt remarkable seeing how much I’ve gone through from being a young year 7 boy and now being a 20-year-old who is a Super 1s role model and within all the other companies such as Lord’s Taverners and Surrey,” said Grindrod, a former student at St Philip’s, a special educational needs school in Chessington.
“It’s quite great to see the two points of view seeing as I’ve been a participant and also as a volunteer and coach with the Lord’s Taverners.
“It’s quite special and it shows that I’ve done something quite special. That makes me feel proud of myself.”
Visibly emotional at the recognition awarded to her son, Grindrod’s mother Jane Lovesey, 55, revealed the Super 1s scheme had helped give him the confidence to flourish.
“From where we were when he was a little boy - this is a different person, it’s massive. I’m trying not to well up,” said Lovesey, a project manager.
“A huge change in him, in his confidence levels, his ability. Cricket has just given him an opportunity that I don’t think he would have had a different way.
“Super 1s has definitely put him on that path because it has brought him out of his shell. If he had stayed in his shell, then none of this would have been possible.
“And the work experience with Lord’s Taverners just gave him that opportunity to integrate into office life and to be part of the team. It’s like a cricket team but in an office, if that makes sense.
“I think even James was surprised that people could be that nice and that much fun to be with. It has been super, Super 1s, super good!”
Working in conjunction with the Surrey Cricket Foundation, the project James attended in Surrey was one of the first to be introduced when the programme was introduced in 2013. The forming of the programme was made possible thanks to support of The Berkeley Foundation and that partnership has been crucial to the growth of the programme; Super 1s began in four London boroughs in 2013, and is now providing opportunities across England and Scotland.
The Lord’s Taverners Super 1s awards evening at Lord’s was made possible thanks to the support the Berkeley Foundation which has been crucial to the growth of the programme which began in four London boroughs in 2013, and is now providing opportunities across England and Scotland.
For more information about the Super 1s programme, visit https://www.lordstaverners.org/how-we-help/charitable-programmes/super-1s/