From: Jeff Moores, Chairman of Ealing Hockey Club
Subject: National Plan for Sport and Recreation:
Ealing Hockey Club has grown from zero members in 2013 to 350 juniors (of which 50% are from State Schools) plus adult teams. From our experience there is the desire to be active within the youngster when they give a varity of sports a try. The key challenge is engagement and the right facilities, where parents are not burdened. In the Netherlands and many other towns on the continent have proper facilities, the right sporting clubs and encourage participation. Too many initiatives are sound bites, short term fads and sticking plasters. The key is to encourage and support sustainable sports clubs who want to expand so they can provide the options (be in competitive or social where no one feels judged). We have ignored many national initiatives as a club as they would burden the volunteers so we have grown using our initiative(s). The only thing that hinders our growth is the lack of facilities eg. two of our teams were to compete in the national indoor competition over Christmas but the borough does not have a sports hall that is suitable for indoor hockey! Shocking!
The key is to get participation is at the earliest age and engage them with as many different sports until they find the sport they love. Then keep them engaged (get them young, keep them long).
statements don’t cause action. The Satellite Club and Sportivate projects were positive initiatives and did help us to gain numbers.
We have managed to raise private money to help families who have lost work due to COVID and provide life membership to families who have suffered bereavement during these times. The last thing we wish is for anyone to stop playing sport because of lack of money. Sport and physical activity need facilities and a safe space. Ealing HC and Ealing Eagels Running have signposted land banked sites without support from the Government and Local Authority our hands are tied.
Because we use two school site parents at Ealing Hockey can safely drop their children at the start of the session and collect them afterwards knowing the children are in a safe, organised and regulated environment. Parents cannot do that in a park!
A key to Ealing Hockey Club and Ealing Eagles Running Club, is the social side of sport. The engagement is more than sport and physical activity it is the support and extended friendship circle. “The new extended family”. This is born out by seeing children in the town after matches and Sunday training and other occasions. They may be from different private and state schools and it is so rewarding from a personal prospective seeing young people socialising outside of the sports club.
How to improve the data capture? I do not know!
Ealing Hockey Club and Ealing Eagles Running Club have not had issues recruiting members from all communities in the Boroughs. We may be lucky to live in a cosmopolitan borough of London. All we want is to properly represent the borough we love.
Some of the best members of the Hockey Club I am seeing are from the state sector. We have to ensure they continue to feel valued and ensure they reach their highest potential.
Please look at the GB Olympic gold medal-winning men's hockey team of 1988 to the GB women's gold medal team of 2016 and notice the difference as well as their socio-economic background! Ealing Hockey Hockey and Ealing Eagles Running Club are committed to rebalancing without compromising on the quality of coaching.
We all hear and see the mental toll caused by lack of physical fitness within society and sport does help towards mental fitness. A healthy body - healthy mind do go together.
Finding the right activity needs sufficient opportunities for future generations to get involved in to find their activity.
28 January 2021