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Howzat! Rochdale cricket league supports research to improve health in South Asian residents

Cricketers and other leisure centre users seized the opportunity to get involved in a huge genetics research project aiming to improve health outcomes for South Asian people.

The team from NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Greater Manchester were bowled over by the enthusiasm when they visited Rochdale Leisure Centre on 22 January. 

Along with other leisure centre users, eligible players from the six teams who battle it out in the amateur Rochdale Indoor Cricket League each Sunday were invited to take part in the Genes and Health Study by providing a small saliva sample.

The study is aiming to understand why people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage have some of the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes and other poor health in Greater Manchester and across the UK.

Analysis of genetic makeup contained in saliva samples from 100,000 people, aged 16 and over, from across Greater Manchester, Bradford and East London will help researchers to understand more about the nature of disease in South Asian communities.

The afternoon was arranged in collaboration with Rochdale resident and cricket league organiser Khalid Bashir, who on the same day launched his new grassroots community initiative Kidney Patient and Carer Experience (KPACE).

After undergoing a lifesaving kidney transplant in 2021, Khalid has set up KPACE to use his own personal experiences to support others living with chronic kidney disease and other long-term health conditions.

Ash Minchin, a Research Support Facilitator at NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester, said:

“It was a pleasure for us to visit Rochdale Leisure Centre and speak with the cricketers and lots of other people who either wanted to take part in the Genes and Health Study or hear more about the different types of research they can get involved in by registering with our Research for the Future initiative.

“We are passionate about visiting our local communities in person and providing opportunities to be part of research in everyday locations like this, so we are extremely grateful for the support of Khalid who shares our same commitment to reducing health inequalities in Greater Manchester.”

Khalid Bashir, founder of Kidney Patient and Carer Experience and a peer educator with Kidney Research UK, said:

“It was brilliant to give people in Rochdale the chance to be part of this important health research, while at the same time raise awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and let people know that we’re here to help.

“I know from my own experiences that a high proportion of people of South Asian heritage like myself are affected by CKD and, as someone who has benefited so much from a kidney transplant, I am really keen to support other families who might be having the same worries and questions that I did. This event was just the start and I’m really excited to get going.”

Take part in the study 

Further details about the Genes and Health Study can be found on the study website. To take part in the study in Greater Manchester or ask any questions, contact