Warwickshire fast bowler Olly Stone and all-rounder Will Rhodes visited Childline’s Birmingham base to launch a partnership between the club and the NSPCC.

The Edgbaston Foundation, the club’s official charity, is joining up with the UK’s leading children’s charity for the coming year.

The charity is obviously making a huge difference to the lives of many young people and it’s great that we as a club can make a major contribution.

Will Rhodes

Plans for the next 12 months include fundraising and awareness raising of the NSPCC’s vital work.

There will be a dedicated T20 fixture in support of the NSPCC and the club will be engaging its players, coaches and fans to hear more about the NSPCC’s School Service through activations and events as well as promoting the NSPCC’s Childline Service’s need to recruit volunteer counsellors.

Ravi Masih, Head of Community Engagement was given a tour of Childline’s Birmingham base in Edgbaston, alongside the players, and heard how the NSPCC-run service is a vital source of support for thousands of young people each year.

The 24-hour helpline relies on volunteer counsellors giving up their time to be there for children who often have nowhere else to turn.

He said: “With the focus of our own Edgbaston Foundation on young people and social impact work focused on supporting children, this relationship with the NSPCC is a strategically important one that we hope will be of benefit to both the club and to the young people of the region.

“Among the Edgbaston Foundation’s aims are helping young people better themselves through education and training and using cricket to encourage them to be more active and feel like they are part of society.

“The Foundation was therefore keen to help the NSPCC’s fight for every childhood, as volunteers and staff across Birmingham and beyond work to improve outcomes for young people.”

Will Rhodes said: “It’s been great to spend time after training here with the NSPCC, learning more about the superb work that it does in supporting young people in Birmingham and across the wider West Midlands region through its Childline service.

“The charity is obviously making a huge difference to the lives of many young people and it’s great that we as a club can make a major contribution. Our Vitality Blast match will be a good opportunity to raise funds, whilst also inspiring the thousands of Bears fans in attendance to support such a great cause.”

As well as Childline, the NSPCC’s work preventing abuse and neglect includes the Speak Out Stay Safe programme, which visits primary schools across the country and last year reached more than 23,000 pupils in Birmingham alone – helping them spot the signs of abuse and teaching them how to stay safe and get help if they need it.

Gareth Roberts, Commercial Director at Edgbaston Stadium and Non-Executive Director on the NSPCC Sports Board, said: “WCCC, Birmingham Bears and Edgbaston are iconic brands locally, regionally and internationally and will provide a solid foundation to support the core objectives of the NSPCC. My role as a Non-Executive Director of NSPCC will focus on utilising the unique assets of WCCC and cricket to make a difference to at risk and vulnerable children.”

Chris Park, Sports Partnership Manager for the NSPCC, said: “Warwickshire County Cricket Club performs some outstanding work with communities in the West Midlands, supporting some of the most vulnerable sections of society. So we are delighted to be working with them closely over the coming year in our fight to keep more children safe.”

To volunteer for Childline in Birmingham, call Kuljinder Nahal on 0121 227 7577 or email Kuljinder.nahal@nspcc.org.uk