Somerset Cricket Foundation Profile: Emily Vickery

Somerset Cricket Foundation is committed to positively impacting the lives of people across the County through cricket.

Somerset County Cricket Club are proud to play a role in helping the Foundation to achieve that goal.

With this in mind, we felt it was important to shine the spotlight of the staff at SCF who do such a great job of delivering the game in so many varied ways across the County. Over the next few months, we will be introducing you to the people who make the Foundation such an integral element within the game.

Today we are focusing on Disability Participation Officer, Emily Vickery, whose role is funded through the Discovery Fund and supported by Somerset Community Foundation.

Let’s start at the start. How did Emily get involved in cricket?

“I’ve been playing cricket since I was tiny,” she explained when we spoke to her earlier this week. “My dad coached so I always went along with him and joined in. I just loved it. I started volunteering when I was about 15 and it’s been a real passion project for me really. I never thought it could become my job.

“I went to university and once I’d got my level 2 coaching, I started coaching here as a casual coach throughout the summer. I got what you might call a proper job, but I just didn’t love it, so I applied for a Community Coach role with what is now the Foundation and was successful in getting the job. I was a Community Coach for about two years and then in September 2022 I became the Disability Participation Officer.”

What does her role entail?

“A lot of my job involves working with adults with learning disabilities and autism. The goal is to help them increase their physical activity levels and help to increase the size of their social groups through cricket. In the winter, we work with daycare providers to hold monthly sessions so that they can stay in contact throughout the winter. In the summer, we go to various clubs across the county who host them brilliantly. A lot of the players have coaches who run the sessions with them on a weekly basis.

“Although my primary focus is working with adults, I also support some of the schools delivery and help with Super 1s sessions. I’m also involved in our sensory cricket experience which is designed for those who can’t access traditional cricket or table cricket. You work with them through music, touch, smell and sight to help give them an experience of a cricket match.”

What is one of the most satisfying parts of the job?

“I think one of the things that I’m most proud of is how well established our groups have become at clubs. For example, at Wembdon we have 25 to 30 adults every Wednesday. The coach is a volunteer and they’ve recently brought in two more volunteers who are just starting their journey in cricket. Seeing those groups become part of a club is just great to see. It’s so good to see how willing the clubs are to include these groups.

“The best bit of the job by far is getting to work with such a wide variety of people and seeing the progression that they can make.

“Once you get to know the groups you get a sense of what they enjoy doing, so you can plan your activities around what you know will be well received. To have seen the development of some of the players over the course of time has been great to see. Two years ago, they were nudging the ball and now some of them are getting some real power into their shots now.”

As Emily explained, her role isn’t solely focused on the game.

“It’s definitely not just about the cricket,” she said. “A lot of our players will have gone to college together but will have drifted apart socially as they’ve transitioned out of the education system. That can be fairly isolating, so it’s been really nice to be able bring multiple groups together and see the friendships that have formed. That’s such a positive thing.

“We’ve also had six participants train as leaders within their sessions which means that they can support a coach in delivering to their peers. The confidence that they have developed through that has been brilliant to see.”

What would Emily consider as being success for her role?

“Success will be for disability cricket to become part of the norm at cricket clubs across the county. Somerset is one of the best counties for disability cricket and we want to be the benchmark for what disability cricket should look like within the community.”