The Sheffield club home to where GB Olympian Tom Sorsby played junior hockey has been handed a boost thanks to a local footballer.
Chapeltown HC has been forced to move several times after the schools where they play hockey replaced astroturf with a 3G pitch and the club has fought to stay alive.
Chapeltown had played at Hinde House School for 15 years before relocating to Ecclesfield School in Chapeltown. But to the club’s “dismay”, the school’s management company opted for a 3G laid pitch which is not conducive for competitive hockey.
However, Chapeltown’s plight has been lifted thanks to a chance encounter between the club’s long-serving player Rachel Gillott and a pro footballer Ross Barrows, who plays for national league side King’s Lynn Town.
It has meant that the club can use a local multi-sports facility at Caribbean Sports Club after being able to raise refurbishment costs for the playing facility.
This was aided by junior coach Matt Bradshaw, who helped raise an extra £2,000 by running a 26-mile route around hockey pitches in South Yorkshire.
“It gives us that base for us to give kids the opportunity to play hockey, which is really important given everything we have all been through,” Gillott said. “Not everybody wants to play football. Hockey is really inclusive; boys and girls and all ages play. It’s a game you can play for your entire life.”
Although junior hockey has been bolstered, the club’s five adult sides are still without a home.
Gillott said: “We have been rendered homeless as a result of education venues turning over hockey suitable surfaces to 3G. We are currently homeless as a result.
“We have been moved on from at least four bases in the last 10 years, and finally, we have nowhere suitable to go within our geographical area.
“Sheffield city Council have said all the right things but not been in a position to stop these conversions or provide a suitable alternative. We even have a facility in Sheffield at a school but who won’t use it for hire to local hockey clubs.
“We are working with England Hockey but again, very little opportunities to provide us a pitch to call our ‘home/base’.”
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