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Howzat for community relations – University of Reading

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Howzat for community relations

Release Date 04 August 2005

543Communities across Reading were at the crease this week for the annual east Reading Police and Communities Cricket Cup, the draw for which took place at the University on Wednesday 3 August. The event was first organised in August 2004 when police and community leaders worked together to improve community cohesion within the younger sections of east Reading's Asian communities. The competition aims to bring together the police and the diverse communities of east Reading to boost understanding and tolerance. The event in 2004 was not just a success on the day, but also had a lasting effect in reducing crime and conflict throughout the area. Reading police were bowled over by the reaction they received and are aiming to make such events a regular fixture. The event is organised by PC Tristan Khezrzadeh, Community Beat Officer for the Newtown area of Reading, along with a committee of representatives from local faith and community groups, local businesses and trade associations from throughout east Reading, and it is the first of a rolling programme of events that will be organised in the coming months. This year's tournament, which will be held on Sunday 4 September at the University cricket ground, will see eight teams play in the strictly amateur competition, vying to be the proud winners of the overall winner's trophy. Teams from the University, Thames Valley Police, the Hindu Temple, Sikh Gurdwara, Pakistan Community Centre, Caribbean community, Reading Single Homeless Project and the Reading Taxi Association will all be representing the key east Reading community groups on the day. The University team, captained by Chemistry PhD student Anton Blencowe, is made up of staff and postgraduate students who regularly play in the inter-departmental 'Sloggers' League. The University team will take on the Sikh Gurdwara in the first game. PC Tristan Khezrzadeh, known locally as 'Buzz', of Reading police station, said: "I have been involved in the organising of the East Reading Police and Communities Cup for two years now and it has become a rewarding personal project. "We have been working closely with key community groups from throughout east Reading for several months now to ensure that the day is a success, not just as a cricket tournament but also as a way of uniting the communities and reducing crime and disorder within east Reading. "It just goes to show what a success last years event was as now we have eight full adult teams and we could probably have had two or three more easily, unfortunately we are limited by pitch availability and time constraints. "However, it will be a great day out and it would be good to see plenty of people from Reading come along and cheer on their team and maybe check out the competition for next year's cup." Jamie Chowdhary, who is Director of Nabishi Radio and Communications, sponsor of the ERCC 2005 and is also a representative from the Pakistan Community Centre, said: "I got involved with this event as I grew up in this area, my family and friends are from this area and so is my business. It is important to me that we all come together and make east Reading somewhere we can all live and enjoy. "Last year's tournament was a real success and we all made new friends from different teams. I hope that the same will be true for this and future events, although I cannot be sure of the PCC retaining their trophy." It's not too late for those that cannot play in this tournament however, as this match is the first in a number of sporting events, for males and females, young and old, that the Reading East Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Sinfield hopes to organise alongside the community committee. Insp Sinfield, based at Reading police station, said: "Community cohesion and harmony has never been more important than in the current climate and I am keen to find new ways in which the police and our communities can mix, learn and increase our understanding of each other. "This is the first time any police area in the Thames Valley has embarked on such a project, with a number of different sporting tournaments aimed at all people from their community. "I would like to see everyone getting involved, men, women, boys and girls, and I would like to hear any suggestions that people have for possible events we could arrange in the future. "I am hoping that, together with the representatives on the community committee, we can arrange the next event to take place around December, this could be football, basketball, netball or any other sport that people would like to compete in. "I would also like to hear from any community group that would like to come along and meet other community leaders and work with us on this project. It is only by working together that we can overcome problems within our society, reducing crime and disorder and making Reading a safer and more enjoyable place to live and work." For more information on this event and any in the future, click on: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/communityevents Or the independent website set up by the organising committee: http://www.communitiescup.com End Notes for Editors For all media queries please contact Tim Wiseman at the Berks West Comms Office on 01189 536354 or email tim.wiseman@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

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