Attenborough: Women's changing room creates 'safe space' for players

Three female cricketers at the unveiling of the changing rooms
Team manager Gemma Barton (middle) said the project would ensure players "feel part of a team" [BBC]

A new changing room at a Nottingham cricket club will provide a "safe space" for female players to get ready, the team's manager said.

The £25,000 facility at Attenborough Cricket Club, near Beeston, were officially unveiled on Monday.

The Attenborough Starlings women's team previously had nowhere to get ready for matches or training sessions.

Team manager Gemma Barton said: "I hope the changing room can help girls feel comfortable at the club."

The 39-year-old said the project was born following growing demand from women and girls wanting to play cricket after the team started four years ago.

"It's such a big deal for us," said Ms Barton. "We're now in a position where we've got over 45 women and girls playing every single week and there was no space for us to change.

"We've been changing in the toilet, the accessible toilet, outside - now we've got a perfect changing room which creates a welcoming space for girls to feel like they belong here and feel part of a team."

The idea of the new changing rooms was proposed in November and the project received financial backing from Nottinghamshire County Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Building work started in December and, once complete, players from the club helped to decorate the new facilities.

"The girls have chosen the colours they wanted, decorated the showers so it's actually more like a spa in my eyes," Ms Barton said.

"It is somewhere that doesn't feel like a changing room, where you just throw your bag into.

"It is a place to hang and chill out in, which is why we wanted the girls to choose how it would look like inside."

A women's softball cricket festival was held to mark the opening of the new facilities.

Caroline Braithwaite, 39, who plays at the club with her daughter, added: "The changing room is so important. At first we had to do what we could to try and find somewhere to get dressed and feel safe and secure.

"With these facilities now we can really focus on playing our cricket which we're all really looking forward to."

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