GROWING PARTICIPATION IN HOCKEY
England Hockey have produced some statistics to show that since the London Olympics in 2012 and increasingly so since the success of the GB girls in Rio, the number of people participating in hockey has increased by 40%. The biggest increase being girls in 5 – 10 age group. Over the same period, the number of hockey clubs around the country has decreased.
In stark contrast, in Lowestoft we have seen the number of people participating in hockey dwindle and over recent years we have lost a number of local Clubs – Gorleston, Lowestoft Town and Waveney. It is becoming increasingly hard to attract new people, young and old, to take up or return to hockey in our locality. The majority of our 4 High Schools do not have hockey on their sports curriculum even though one of them, East Point Academy, has the astro facility upon which we depend for our hockey.
The Committees of Lowestoft Railway HC and Lowestoft Ladies HC have decided to join forces to address the problem we both share of attracting new people to our sport. Both Committees are resolved that this joint working is not a merger of the Clubs; our intention is to pool together our coaching and volunteer resources to set up and deliver a programme of events over the next 12 months on a project entitled ‘Growing Participation in Hockey in Lowestoft & Gt Yarmouth’.
We have applied for and have been awarded a grant from Sport England to help us with this; together with a financial contribution from each Club (£400) and contributions and support from England Hockey and Nuffield Health for project specific activities, the grant amounts to £6,500. This money is to help us increase our coaching capacity, purchase kit and to cover pitch hire and publicity costs for the project.
We are planning a series of events over the next 12 months which will require much support from members, families and friends of both Clubs; success will depend, not on finance but on our collective commitment, determination and effort to volunteer to give time to help to set up and deliver the activities. There is a small working group established with members of both Clubs to ‘lead’ the project and that group is currently beginning to plan the detail of what will happen and when.
We are keen to use the opportunity of the Ladies World Cup in August as a means of raising awareness and interest in hockey and there will be considerable effort in the weeks before, during and immediately following the World Cup. The grant is specifically aimed at people over the age of 14 so we will be working with the High Schools to set up after school clubs and competitions. We will also be holding return to hockey and new to hockey activities to attract people of all ages and all abilities. In addition (though it’s not part of the Grant) we will coordinate and increase the efforts that both our Clubs have been doing working with Primary Schools. Our whole focus at this stage is concerned with getting more people – male, female, young, old to participate in hockey.
You will be hearing from the working group soon with much more detail and with an ask for your help. For the time being, if you have any ideas about how we could get more people playing hockey then please talk to somebody on your Committee. Above all, please do volunteer to help with this project. The future of hockey for both our Clubs rests on us being able to attract more people to the sport and to become regular players.
From: Club Chairs (Peter and Izzy)
LOWESTOFT RAILWAY HOCKEY CLUB
LOWESTOFT LADIES HOCKEY CLUB
Updated 22:49 - 21 May 2018 by Jamie Ayers