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Batting for a better future

Cricket, for many, is shorthand for English high summer, fair play and tradition. For Alosh K Jose, though, it’s much more than that. Through his Cricketqube venture, the Northumbria University graduate is harnessing the sport’s disciplines to improve social, physical and mental wellbeing. Here, Steven Hugill learns more about Cricketqube’s founding, its charity and care home work, and its efforts to boost health and connectivity in marginalised ethnic minority communities.

“It is far more than a game, this cricket.”

For Sir Neville Cardus, and his florid pen, cricket was drama, artistry and heavenly relief for the human soul.

For a young Alosh K Jose, the game was altogether more rudimentary.

Growing up in Kerala, the state hugging India’s southwestern tip, he played in corridors, streets and, on occasions, a coconut farm, with bats and stumps fashioned from the drupe’s tree leaves.

Yet for all the contrast, the sport’s impact cut just as deep.

And when Alosh moved to the North East in 2018, to study international sports management at Northumbria University, he set about better imparting its influence on society.

To do so, he founded Cricketqube, which works with people aged from three to 104.

He says: “Cricket didn’t feel as accessible or as popular as it could be when I arrived in the UK; the weather doesn’t help, but the cost of playing makes it expensive too.

“I wanted to see if we could change that.”



Originally, Cricketqube – which Alosh co-founded with former Northumbria University classmate and international indoor cricketer Anish John – looked at creating prize-money tournaments.

However, when COVID-19 struck, Alosh – by now in sole charge – switched to a much greater community focus.

And when lockdown restrictions ended in 2021, Cricketqube, which operates from Northumbria University’s Newcastle-based Incubator Hub, began in earnest.

Augmented by a PNE Group grant to buy kit, Alosh dressed as Santa and delivered a two-hour session for primary school children and their parents in a Heaton hall.

He says: “Looking back, it was too long, because some got tired and left early.

“But it was a really good experience because we learned for the future about timings and class sizes.”

And with those findings as foundations, Alosh set about building Cricketqube’s offer.

Weekly sessions with Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, which provides social and physical support to over-50s, were quickly founded, and are now complemented by weekly classes with care homes, schools and community centres, and an alliance with Parkinson’s UK.

He says: “We work with many people who suffer from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and our classes really engage their brains

“They are a catalyst for unlocking memories that have been hidden for so long.”

“But the physical aspect has been amazing too,” says Alosh of Cricketqube, which employs five staff and delivers sessions at Eothen Care Homes’ Newcastle and Whitley Bay sites, and ran camps for children, including those with special educational needs, during the recent Easter holidays.

He adds: “We deliver sessions in Newcastle and Ashington with Parkinson’s UK, and have people who started with a walker and couldn’t hold a bat, who are now using a walking stick and gripping a bat with both hands.

“One resident’s grip strength increased from a rating of 11 to 16 in just four months, which was amazing.”



Those endeavours, though, are but chapters in a much longer story, one which has been punctuated by Northumbria University support across areas including mentorship, internship and technological advances.

With further backing from Innovate UK, Alosh has developed programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of marginalised ethnic minority communities while better uniting families, including those from different cultures.

The latter, known as family backyard cricket, was crafted through trial and co-development sessions with Indian, Pakistani, Ghanaian, Nigerian and West Indian families.

The project was led by Dr Faatihah Niyi-Odumosu, an associate professor of physical activity and health at the University of West of England.

Such was the take up that sessions for black and South Asian families are now running in Newcastle’s west end, alongside the city’s council, until at least early 2025.

“The prevalence of lifestyle diseases in ethnic minority communities is much higher than in Caucasian societies, and I wanted to see if we could provide an answer for that,” says Alosh, who additionally hosts the Ageing Lifestyle in Blacks and South Asians webinar, a venture he has developed alongside Dr Niyi-Odumosu, which features academics, GPs and public health and tech experts as guest speakers.

He says: “Our entire lifestyles are changing because of technology, and we need the guidance of family members to properly understand our roots.

“That is what backyard cricket is all about.

“Yes, we play cricket, but we also set aside time for people to talk about their experiences, and to bring different communities and ethnic minorities more closely together.

“Such interactions have previously been negligible, but we want to build bridges and let younger generations hear stories about lots of different communities.”

He adds: “We began with an idea of tournament cricket, but we’re now more of a cricket travelling circus, which takes the game to communities.

“Thanks to our success, we’re having lots of conversations about expanding, not just in the North East, but across other parts of the UK too.

“And we’ll get there.”

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May 9, 2024

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