Lodders has been a commercial partner of the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) since early 2020, but was keen to explore a partnership that went beyond event hospitality, and support the PCA’s impressive work in providing support to both current and past players.
So when presented with the opportunity in early 2021 to sponsor and support the PCA’s Futures Awards, Lodders jumped at the chance.
The PCA is the representative body of past and present male and female professional cricketers in England and Wales. Its two main priorities are to offer clear and comprehensive contractual advice, and to deliver an industry leading Personal Development and Welfare Programme to its current 3,500 members.
On top of providing services including mental health support, one of the primary aims of the welfare programme is to help players to better prepare for life after cricket, since the average career in the professional game comes to an end at the age of just 26.
The Futures Awards is part of this welfare programme – and Lodders is the first organisation to get involved with the awards as a sponsor.
Following a detailed online application process, six current and former cricketers were shortlisted for the Futures Awards, and invited to deliver a 15-minute presentation at Lodders offices in Cheltenham.
Lodders’ managing partner, Paul Mourton and corporate partner, Graham Spalding sat on the judging panel alongside the PCA’s Charlie Mulraine and Lynsey Williams.
Six players presented their personal development plans – Ollie Westbury, Vishal Tripathi, Abi Sakande, Joe Cooke, Tammy Beaumont, and Phoebe Graham.
The quality of the presentations made for a very rewarding and inspirational day. Each player then spent time with a handpicked group of Lodders experts to access advice on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing through to HR, access to finance and accounting advice.
Leicestershire fast bowler Abi Sakande (pictured) was awarded the overall prize.
Joe Cooke secured the newcomer prize and Vishal Tripathi the past player award.
Lodders awarded the overall winner a prize of £3,000 to invest in their personal development, with each category winner (past, current and newcomer) winning £2,000.
Paul Mourton, said: “As a firm, we’re very keen to give back and want to be a part of the good stuff that the PCA is doing with the Futures Awards.
“All of the presentations were very impressive. Normally you would pigeonhole professional cricketers as being on the field, but people forget they are human beings who have interests outside of the game, which shone through very brightly during the 2021 Futures Awards.”
PCA Futures Awards Overall winner 2021, Abi Sakande, said: “I’m very grateful to the PCA and Lodders for having set this up and investing in me, so thank you very much. I’m glad they’ve recognised the value of what I’ve been doing and what I plan to do with the prize.
“I feel like the hard work has really paid off,” he added. “I’ve grown and changed a huge amount as a person through all of these off-the-field activities. Some of that was forced by lockdown, but I also wanted to push myself, and in the long run, I’m in a much better position sitting here today to go in a confident direction once cricket ends.”
The PCA’s Charlie Mulraine, who also sat on the judging panel, added: “Moving away from Edgbaston to Lodders’ offices in Cheltenham took the players out of their comfort zones. Every player had a unique focus, and they were all at different places on their personal journey.
“We wanted to work with Lodders to use the expertise inside their organisation to give each member the best support. The more we can understand how players want to develop their careers, the more we can work with Lodders to create an environment that can provide a tailored experience.”
This ‘tailored experience’ came to life in Autumn 2021 with a seven-week work experience programme for Leicestershire opening batter and PCA member Hassan Azad. Hass worked across different legal and operational teams within Lodders, in a progamme coordinated by the firm’s training manager Andrew Busst, who said: “It’s safe to say Hass was a big hit at Lodders, and should he ever consider a legal career then our door is definitely open!”
The 2022 Futures Awards are now open for applications, with the judging set to take place at Lodders offices in Cheltenham on 8 December 2022.
For more information, visit the PCA website.Contact us
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