England cricket legends Alastair Cook and Graham Gooch helped Lord's Taverners, the UK's leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, launch their latest partnership with Essex Ford at the Essex County Ground in Chelmsford on Monday 30th March 2015 to provide their iconic, specially-adapted, green minibuses to special schools for young people with learning and physical disabilities.
Paul Robin, Chief Executive of Lord’s Taverners, said: “The minibuses have been a great success story for us and they are used for special needs schools. Many of the schools don’t have their own facilities, so we provide the transportation for them to get to days out. We are delivering in excess of 30 minibuses this year, which is around the average number. We have delivered over 1,000 buses throughout the scheme, which is excellent.”
“With any partner you are looking for someone who shares the same objectives, Essex Ford do a lot of work in the community and it is great that we both share the same passions, not just in cricket but also in helping young people, and I believe we have found that synergy with Essex Ford.”
Essex Ford, a Motability Premier Partner which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, has a long history of giving back to the community by sponsoring sports at different levels from Essex County Cricket Club to local teams and schools. Part of their backing for Essex Cricket has included sponsorship of the Graham Gooch Cricket School, where thousands of cricketers of all ages and abilities have trained alongside the likes of Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara at the indoor facility.
Chairman and Managing Director of Essex Ford, Philip Maskell, commented: “It is a great fit for us. We are a great sponsor of Essex Cricket and I am personally a member of the Lord’s Taverners. We are very privileged to be working with the Lord’s Taverners and want to add value to our relationship with the product – Ford Motor Company.
“We are doing that as the supplier of the vehicles and also want to work on joint promotions to help the Lord’s Taverners raise more money and awareness. We like to think of ourselves of providing high-quality services to our customers and we have the expertise to get the best out of the relationship.”
Through the vehicle of cricket, the Lord’s Taverners and Essex Ford hope that these minibuses will make it easier for disadvantaged and disabled young people to take advantage of opportunities to build their skills, experience and enjoyment of sport and life. The minibuses will be adapted by Stanford Coachworks, via Essex Ford’s new specialist Transit Centre, to include a comprehensive range of health and safety features, plus adaptations to make driving, stowage and accessibility easier and more comfortable.
England Captain Alastair Cook remarked: “The Lord’s Taverners is a fantastic charity. Any chance cricketers like myself have, we try and give back to the community, and the minibuses play a very small part of what they do. It’s great to be involved – as we know in the modern day, facilities are crucial and we need transport to get to places where sport can be played.”
“Essex Ford and Lord’s Taverners will enhance opportunities for a number of children who aren’t so fortunate. I’ve been involved with Essex Ford for a number of years and the support they have given Essex Cricket and myself has been great, so the partnership is fantastic and long may it continue.”
Essex County Cricket Club Ambassador Graham Gooch explained his history with the partners: “Lord’s Taverners have been linked with cricket throughout the years, especially when I first started playing. The support and the brand of Lord’s Taverners is known for doing great work. I’ve been lucky with handing over minibuses and now with my involvement with Essex Ford, I am absolutely delighted that they are continuing the minibus scheme. It is a great community effort to raise money and put it to a good cause.”
“They both love cricket. Essex Ford has been involved with Essex Cricket for a number of years and with their love of the game and the causes Lord’s Taverners support, I believe it will be a winning partnership for years to come.”