The England Hockey Board has announced that national chain Harvester has become the ‘Official Restaurant Partner’ of England and Great Britain Hockey.
As part of the three-year deal, Harvester will support the EHB’s Grow Your Own programme and will sponsor the annual Club of the Year Award.
Grown Your Own helps hockey clubs develop the right infrastructure and environment to be successful. With nearly 1000 hockey clubs in England, the programme supports those that aspire to be well run, welcoming and successful, and that are proud to promote themselves to the local community and beyond. Harvester’s backing will enable the EHB to increase the scope of the programme to allow more clubs to benefit from free resources and advice, as well as heighten the impact of EHB’s National Club Open Weekend, which takes place each September.
Jonathan Cockcroft, Commercial & Membership Director at the EHB, said: “We are delighted to be working with Harvester as our Official Restaurant Partner. As one of the country’s best loved restaurant chains, Harvester’s warm welcome and relaxing atmosphere is perfectly matched with hockey, which is well renowned for bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds. With 25 million meals served in Harvester restaurants each year, the relationship with the Mitchells & Butlers brand will not only support our current club infrastructure but help hockey engage with new audiences through an exciting period for the sport.”
Alex Meyer, Senior Marketing Manager at Harvester, said: “This is an exciting new partnership for Harvester and the England Hockey Board. We believe that there is great potential for the EHB and Harvester to complement each other over the next three years. Harvester is famous for its commitment to providing customers with choice, through our salad and grill menu and the iconic Harvester Salad Cart, and it makes sense for us to partner with the EHB to work together to promote an active lifestyle.
“We all know that the next 18 months will see an increased focus on sport throughout the UK and with more than 170 restaurants across the country we believe Harvester is well placed to help showcase hockey and the Grow Your Own initiative.”
Alex Teasdale, National Manager Clubs & Facilities at the EHB, said: “Our hockey clubs are the lifeblood of the sport in this country. Through the Harvester Grow Your Own programme, we will be able to help clubs to continue to grown their own players, volunteers, funding and facilities.”
Central to the Harvester Grow Your Own programme will be the expansion of the Grow Your Own Club Day, a dedicated day as part of National Club Weekend on which hockey clubs showcase themselves to new and existing members, volunteers and the local community. Grow Your Own Club Day is supported and marketed at a national level by the England Hockey Board and in 2011 will see England’s international athletes join forces with EHB staff to lend hands-on assistance at clubs across the country.
As part of the relationship, Mitchells & Butlers, which operates the Harvester chain along with a number of other leading bar and restaurant brands, will create at least 20 hockey-themed venues for the duration of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. 83% of hockey clubs do not own their own clubhouse facilities and the Hockey Houses will allow supporters across the country to come together to cheer on the Great Britain hockey teams at the Games.