The Clydesdale Bank 40 Family of the Month Award has been announced for July, with the Rafiq family from Barnsley revealed as winners.
The Rafiq family have their own unique link to the Clydesdale Bank 40; the professional career of Azeem Rafiq. Yorkshire's 20-year-old off spinner, seems destined for the spotlight – thanks to runs, wickets and doosras. But there is far more to the Rafiq family than the national headlines. Just ask the hungry players at Barnsley, the talent scouts at Yorkshire or, more than anyone, the young sportsmen and women benefiting from the QADAR Sports Foundation set up by Azeem's mum and dad, Rehana and Muhammed.
Established a year ago, the QADAR Sports Foundation is named after the initials of the five Rafiq children, Qurat-ul-ain, Azeem, Danial, Amna and Rahila. In Urdu, Qadar means 'help and respect', which is exactly what Azeem received on his way to becoming a professional, from people at Barnsley CC and also from Yorkshire CCC. His parents' foundation now aims to provide similar financial support for other talented players in South Yorkshire.
Also providing support and encouragement for the next generation of Barnsley cricketers, Danial, 18, has completed his level 2 coaching certificate and helps out with junior nets and Kwik Cricket coaching sessions as well as assisting with Chance to Shine coaching in local primary schools. Meanwhile Amna, 15, who was the only female cricketer at Barnsley seven years ago, has helped form the club's women's section – which includes her sister Rahila, 13 – while also playing for the Barnsley boys' sides. An allrounder like her professional brother, Amna is also involved with Yorkshire's young leadership programme and was recently selected for the county's U17 girls' side.
Away from cricket, Rehana's most popular contribution to the QADAR Foundation is her cooking and every couple of weeks Barnsley's cricketers are treated to Mrs Rafiq's Saturday evening curry. The meal used to be free, but with the charity growing, any donations are now ploughed into the QADAR Foundation, to which the £500 prize money for winning the Family of the Month award will also be donated.
Clydesdale Bank will be rewarding families throughout the season for their involvement in the grass roots of cricket, winning a cheque for £500 to help maintain their involvement in the sport, £500 worth of cricket equipment from Gray Nicolls, and a trophy to recognise their efforts. To enter your family in to the Award, please visit www.ecb.co.uk/clydesdalebank40.
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