Hockey Inner City kids at Streatham

UK-based Hockey Inner City, which aims to make the sport more accessible to young children in the state sector, has described as “perplexing” the government decision to ground after school activity for children for a month.

Last year Great Britain international Rhys Smith set up the non-profit to acclaim but Hockey Inner City has been forced to postpone its sessions at Immanuel & St Andrew’s Primary School CofE in Streatham, London – where Smith was a pupil – until December. Whether inner-city or rural, you can enjoy hockey at the elite level with the benefit of Betfred promo code available nationally and beyond.

HiC said that under government guidelines, extra curricular activities can only take place if they are deemed to be ‘childcare’ and Public Health England told the Streatham school that the hockey initiative doesn’t fall under this category.

An HiC statement read: “We find it frustrating that schools remain open, children continue to interact together indoors, in their year group bubbles, but can’t extend their school day by 1.5 hours to play sport outdoors.

“It is perplexing that Public Health England, with the knowledge of the huge mental and physical health impacts that this decision will have on our young children, have taken this decision.”

The project’s aim since its 2019 launch has been to improve hockey accessibility for kids from backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in the sport.

Since last September, HiC has seen a majority of its young participants “drastically increase” self-confidence through hockey, communication between coaches and peers, as well as being able to continually showcase their newly-found stick skills.

“This is something the children look forward to once a week and now this is being taken away from them,” said Smith.

We are so sad about this. My daughter has absolutely loved hockey, it’s the first sport she has really taken to and been keen to play! I hope there will be another opportunity for classes to start after lockdown.”

One Hockey Inner City participant’s parent

There has been criticism since the government’s decision to enforce club closure in England in November.

Over the weekend, this was heightened after newspaper reports highlighted how private schools were allowed to continue playing while municipal facilities remained closed. One report suggested that matches were taking place. Even though this may have looked to be the case, schools are not allowed to participate in matches against other schools during lockdown 2.0 and independents can continue playing on their facilities but within year group bubbles.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said last week: “As soon as we’re in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

“But, until then, we have made sure that families can keep exercising throughout this lockdown so I would urge people to get out and get fit.”

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