England based Hockey Futures has been at the forefront of spreading hockey by making the sport accessible through its vision to create a nation where every young person can play hockey. The charity works with hockey clubs to create outreach programmes to connect with young people through schools and community organisations.
Programme director Sue Martineau believes that hockey has the power to change lives and they focus on young people from the most disadvantaged communities. She adds: “This week Redditch hockey club has been awarded a grant to partner with a local school which is in an area of high deprivation. They will create a viable and sustainable hockey programme giving young people the opportunity to improve their health and well-being and to become part of a community that could last a life time."
Recently, Hollywood star Emma Watson joined various international athletes at the Hockey Futures launch event and then made a surprise visit at Thorpe Hall Primary School in Walthamstow, East London, joining a hockey session alongside Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE and Commonwealth & European medallist Emily Defroand.
Emma Watson – who played hockey for Rover Oxford as a youngster and also at Brown University – joined in with twenty children in a session delivered by coaches from Waltham Forest Hockey Club.
She said: “Hockey was a big part of my life growing up and I’m thrilled that England Hockey are committed to making the sport more accessible to children all over the country through the launch of Hockey Futures. Hockey is the nation’s most gender equal sport and it was fantastic to visit a Hockey Futures session at Thorpe Hall Primary School and see children playing together, learning new skills - and teaching me some new hockey tricks too!”
"It’s a really important opportunity to celebrate leading sports women from all over the world and I wish all the players every success in their games”, she added.
Helen Richardson-Walsh is an ambassador for Hockey Futures, and Essex-born Emily Defroand is an ambassador for England Hockey’s work in East London in conjunction with Sport England, and they helped guide Emma Watson through a Quick sticks session at Thorpe Hall’s sports facilities.
“It was great to be part of the event alongside Emma, Emily and of course the schoolchildren! Hockey is an amazing inclusive sport and it is so important that we help create as many opportunities as we can for youngsters to play, wherever they live. Throughout my career and since Rio I’ve seen first-hand how powerful sport can be at grass-roots, and long may it continue through Hockey Futures. Fundraising is now key and as an ambassador for the charity I will be doing all I can to help share its message,” Helen Richardson-Walsh stated.
Emily Defroand added: “It was a fantastic event and I’m happy to admit it was an amazing surprise for everyone in the room that Emma was able to join us. She is a brilliant role model and to have her support is very, very powerful. With my roots in Essex, I am very proud of hockey in this part of the world and I really believe Hockey Futures can make a significant difference for the long term, helping as many young people as possible to play our sport. With the World Cup in London last summer, hockey has a great platform to keep growing.”
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