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Trust President David Graveney urges PCA members to reach out to one another.
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Professional Cricketers’ Trust President David Graveney has said that now is an “opportune time” for current and former professional cricketers to support each other by reaching out via the Talk to Teammates campaign.
Former Gloucestershire, Somerset and Durham man Graveney recently appeared in a launch video for the joint initiative between the PCA and the Trust which aims to combat isolation and loneliness amongst the PCA membership this winter and beyond.
The campaign has a personal meaning for Graveney, whose full-time employment with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was severed shortly before Christmas, though he has remained with the governing body in a part-time capacity. Nevertheless, Graveney says that he has acutely felt the isolating effects of a third national lockdown in under one year.
“I’ve been so fortunate to stay in the game after playing but I understand the situation that the ECB has been faced with recently,” Graveney said. “They’ve had some unbelievable challenges financially in terms of running the game and the change in my employment situation turned into an inevitable conclusion.
“I’ve found redundancy to be a worrying and at times lonely experience. You realise how much of your friend base comes from people you work with. That gets removed and you do get lonely as a result, which I’m sure many people have been feeling recently.
“People are also currently struggling in terms of businesses they have set up, home learning and uncertainty with regards to their futures. You don’t have to be, like me, retired from cricket for 20-25 years to need help. In fact, I think this current lockdown has had more of an effect on people’s lives than the original one last year.
“This is, therefore, a really opportune time to work with both current and former players to help them reconnect. This unique situation we find ourselves in highlights that the game needs to really make sure to make every effort to contact not only past players, but also current players and coaches too.”
Graveney, along with a number of fellow PCA members as well as representatives from both the Association and the Trust, has been helping to put the Talk to Teammates campaign into action by reaching out to representatives from each of the 18 first-class counties to help spread the word.
Whilst reaction has so far been positive, he says, there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure no PCA member is left feeling isolated this year.
“One of my first tasks was to identify prominent past players at each of the clubs, and find out what each region is doing to make sure those individuals stay connected.
“Everyone thinks the Talk to Teammates campaign is a good idea but the next step is to make it work properly. We’ve got to keep getting that message out there and the communication is vital. At first, I don’t think I realised how much of an impact a five or 10-minute call just to say ‘how are you’ could have.
“It goes beyond the players, too, people have wives and families who may need that support as well. The game needs to work hard to support the entire cricket family, and now is the time to make that happen.
“I hope that through the Talk to Teammates campaign we can inspire former players at every county to communicate with each other in a more proactive way.
“Let’s all get out there and make an effort to talk to former friends and teammates.”
If you’re finding things difficult at the moment, support is always available from the PCA and the Trust. Don’t hesitate to reach out via our dedicated Confidential Helpline on 07780 008 877 or download the Thrive mental health app, which is available to all PCA members.