As ECB director of participation and growth, Matt Dwyer knows what is needed for cricket to go from strength to strength in the UK and he is adamant the ECB Club Open Days will play a crucial role.

The ECB Club Open Days initiative, supported by Waitrose, is a nationwide programme that aims to help boost grassroots cricket participation by encouraging cricket clubs to open their pavilion doors and welcome guests from their local community for a day of cricket taster sessions and activities.

This summer around 1,500 cricket clubs up and down the country will host a Club Open Day with Dwyer convinced that a welcoming nature will ensure people are enticed to keep returning to their local club in the future, the same way he was as a youngster back in Australia.

Having used the Big Bash grow spectator interest and participation levels when working for Cricket Australia, Dwyer is perfectly-placed to help English cricket clubs get more bodies through the door.

And he wants each club to use their Open Day to prove they are the perfect place for families to spend time together and make unforgettable memories.

“One of the messages we’re getting out is that the local cricket club will give you back an hour a week with your kids,” explained Dwyer.

“As a parent it will be the best hour you have per week and we want to make sure the local cricket club is at the heart of all those communities.

“Having the Open Days are a vital part of that. It gives people an opportunity to check out the local cricket club, see what it’s all about and see if it’s a place they can get involved with.

“Waitrose are on board and 1,500 clubs this year will take part in the Open Day. Waitrose are donating £100 worth of food and goodies for the day to make sure it’s a great day.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase what the local cricket clubs can do.”

Entering its third year, the ECB Club Open Day scheme has proved to be a successful initiative, with 900 clubs holding events in 2014 – a 300 per cent increase from 2013 – welcoming 116,820 guests, with 9,000 becoming new players, volunteers and social members.

Former England captain turned ECB Cricket Partnership Ambassador Mike Gatting is a long-time supporter of the scheme, having joined numerous clubs to participate in their Club Open Days over the past few years.

And Dwyer – who was pivotal in putting together the ECB’s new plan to ensure the health of cricket in the UK called ‘Cricket Unleashed’ – insists having such legends of the sport involved in the scheme is a huge benefit.

“Mike has been a great asset and advocate of club cricket for a long time now. That will continue and we’ve got other great ambassadors as well,” added Dwyer.

“Grassroots cricket is vitally important. We recently launched ‘Cricket Unleashed’ which is the strategy for the game of cricket by the game of cricket.

“Three key focus areas were more play, great teams and inspired fans. In all elements of that strategy, participation is the underpinning nature of the future sustainability and relevance of the game.

“The ECB see participation as a vital part of what we do and are backing it up with investment – we're the only department to see an increase in funding for the next 12 months – which is great.”

For more information about Club Open Days, supported by Waitrose, including a full list of clubs registered, visit