By Richard Bright
Nottingham Hockey Centre, home of Beeston HC, is set to become the largest hockey centre in the world outside Holland following a £2 million investment which will take its pitches to six.
Following a deal with Nottingham High School, two new synthetic pitches will be added by the end of the year which the club claims will rank the centre alongside the ‘superclub’ concept in the Netherlands.
Catering for an influx in junior boys and girls, the high school will also establish an “ambitious” outreach programme for hockey in the community, with a particular focus on local schools. At a time when hockey in state schools is lacking serious provision and focus, it will be interesting to monitor the community development in future years.
This investment brings 113 years of history full circle: Beeston HC was founded in 1907 by former students of Nottingham High School. The land at Highfields was left in trust for the people of Nottingham by Jesse Boot, founder of Boots, for the purpose of sport and recreation. Jesse was also a former pupil at Nottingham High School. The new partnership will ensure that the site continues to be a beacon for Nottingham sport.
Kevin Fear, headmaster of Nottingham High School, said: “We are delighted to be further enhancing our excellent sporting facilities through this investment. We strongly believe that alongside our excellent academic provision we have a really strong sporting offer and this new facility, together with our Sports Field at Valley Road, enable us to offer our students fantastic facilities in which to develop their sporting aspirations.”
“We look forward to working with the Nottingham Hockey Centre in developing an outreach programme to enable local schools and clubs also to make use of this new facility and we are proud to be part of the largest hockey centre in the UK.”
David Griffiths, Chairman of Nottingham Hockey Centre, said the deal inked with the high school would mean hockey would become even more of a focus in the city.
He said: “With the construction of these new pitches and Beeston Hockey Club’s matches featuring weekly on Notts TV, we are well on the way to achieving this. I’m particularly looking forward to the results the schools outreach programme will bring to the city and introduce new people to the sport.
“Since I became Chairman of Nottingham Hockey Centre in 2011, I’ve had the unmitigated pleasure of upgrading the playing surfaces of the three existing pitches which were installed at the turn of the millennium, as well as seeing the construction of the University of Nottingham water-based pitch. I’m absolutely confident that Nottingham High School’s investment of two further pitches will enhance Nottingham’s position as a prominent European hockey centre, and raise the profile and importance of club hockey in England for years to come.”
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