Sport in the community

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

So many people are now aware of the amazing sport of hockey since the incredible achievements of the GB women’s hockey team in Rio this summer. We are biased of course, but at Maidstone Hockey Club, a true family club, we have always advocated our sport and the physical and social benefits as well as its ability to bring a community together through a stick and a ball!
The fantastic benefit of all-weather pitches, apart from making modern hockey the fast, exciting game that it has become, is that children can now start to learn and more importantly enjoy the game at a far younger age. Junior Hockey at MHC has progressed well in recent years with both team and individual successes. Many players who started their hockey at MHC as juniors are still here playing for the club. Several of our juniors are in the County squads, and we have several ex MHC juniors representing GB and England. Inspired by the incredible Team GB success and the raised profile of hockey in the media, we have seen a huge growth in the number of youngsters turning up to our Sunday morning sessions. We are hoping the Fund will help us to sustain this growth in junior participation and develop our future coaches.
We welcome and encourage any children who simply want to come and have a go at hockey. If they show an interest, they will then be able to join the junior section and play on a regular basis. We strive to develop every individual to their potential whilst maintaining their enthusiasm and interest through a quality coaching programme with a progressive introduction into competitive hockey to apply their skills, but to also develop positional awareness, hockey tactics and the importance of a strong team ethos. The U14 and U16 groups play competitive league hockey and enter cup competitions. The younger age groups play mini-hockey (7 a side) tournaments against other Kent clubs.
We encourage families to get involved with the club. Recently this has included parents taking steps into coaching, taking on admin roles and supporting with transport and training. Some parents have very successfully developed the “side-line” experience, providing welcoming pitch-side refreshments which in turn encourages parents and carers to stay around and get involved themselves. A number have been pro-active in organising junior social and fundraising events for the club. Many have themselves started or returned to adult hockey with the club. As we said earlier, Maidstone is a true family club in our community.
In 2007 MHC achieved England Hockey ClubsFirst accreditation (the hockey equivalent of Sports England's Club Mark award) which ensures that we have a safe and child-friendly environment for developing young players. For parents of prospective players it gives them the confidence that the Club's child protection and welfare processes have been independently audited and approved. We have successfully maintained the standard at each re-assessment.
In order to maintain these quality standards, and cope with the influx of new interest and new players we need to continually develop our coaching workforce. We successfully encourage many of our home-grown players to return to junior training because they are fantastic role models and, as an incentive, we try to get them onto the first rungs of the hockey coaching or umpiring ladder by putting them on NGB courses. These obviously cost money. We also encourage and support interested parents to become involved in this way.
Finally, an increase in players, means a need for additional equipment, from the basics of sticks, balls, cones and bibs to team kits and the particularly expensive specialist goal-keeping equipment. As we are able to field more teams, we need more junior resources and if successful we would use part of the Fund in this way.
We hope you will consider us worthy of your vote so we can truly sustain the Olympic legacy, come rain or shine, down at our Armstrong Road pitch every Sunday morning.

Maidstone Hockey Club

This programme truly works. Many coaches are parents, or adult players who came through it themselves. Youngsters can be active (away from their gadgets!), develop new skills, teamwork and be safe off the streets. The whole nation saw the power of hockey at Rio and every player must start somewhere!

Location: Maidstone