The first cricket centre of its kind has been opened in Leyton to encourage more people to get involved in the sport.

The Leyton Cricket Hub was opened last week to mark the first anniversary of the South Asian Action Plan, with the facility providing access to the sport through programmes including women’s soft ball cricket and allstars cricket.

The urban cricket centre has been created by the England & Wales Cricket Board in conjunction with Waltham Forest Council and Essex County Cricket Club and aims to use cricket as a way to create social cohesion in the community.

Lord Patel of Bradford, chair of the ECB South Asian Advisory Group, said: “Cricket has a unique ability to reach across diverse social, cultural and religious groups and this centre hopes to contribute to building a stronger, healthier community.”

In the future, a food hub will also be created next to the centre. A cafe and a restaurant will open as well as a place for local residents to cultivate food that will then be sold in a local market.

Waltham Forest Council leader Clare Coghill said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be launching the Leyton Cricket Hub today – the first in the ECB’s plan to develop a network of Urban Cricket Centres.

“In Waltham Forest, we are totally committed to giving people the opportunity to pursue their passions, realise their ambitions and lead healthy and active lifestyles. Sport is a fantastic way of breaking down barriers to participation and this successful partnership with ECB is a real asset for our residents, adding to an already eclectic sport, leisure and cultural offer in our borough.”

The opening, announced as a “landmark moment” by Lord Patel, has been possible through the cooperation between the three organisations.

Derek Bowden, chief executive at Essex Cricket, emphasised the importance of this cooperation. He said: “This is a great project and the club are proud to be part of the grand opening with Waltham Forest Council and ECB. We are dedicated to working with Waltham Forest Council to continue growing cricket in the area for all ages, and these new facilities will provide a hub for youngsters to develop their skills and become stars of the future.”

This opening is the first point of the action plan created in May 2018 which aimed to develop cricket among South Asian communities. The 11-point action plan wants to develop opportunities for the South Asian community in cricket, by, for example, helping participants in the coaching careers and also identifying and developing talents.