Sunday, June 23, 2024

Tulse Hill & Dulwich brings free hockey to local primary state school children

The first cohort of primary-aged children graduated from THD Phoenix, a free hockey program run by Tulse Hill & Dulwich (THD) Hockey Club, this season.

The programme aims to tackle the diversity and inclusivity problems within hockey and provide a free two-year programme to primary-aged children from local state schools. 

According to research by Sport England, over 620,000 children in London (5-16 years old) are not meeting the recommended levels of daily activity. Children from the most affluent families in London are nearly 14% more likely to be active compared to children from the least affluent families (54% vs 40%).

THD Phoenix launched in the autumn of 2023 and aligns with England Hockey’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) framework. It is run by Rémy Oliver from THD Hockey Club in partnership with Dulwich College. 

The programme is based in South London and over the past two years has been introducing free field hockey to over 55 primary-aged children from seven local state schools, who have not had the opportunity to play hockey and experience the benefits of participating in a sport can provide.

Oliver, head coach at THD Phoenix said: “Our community is diverse, ranging from extreme privilege to extreme poverty – as indicated by the range of schools available. Our community is divided, and opportunities for positive engagement are limited so it is unsurprising there is a lack of understanding and empathy between people.

“It is a joy to see the children develop both socially and as hockey players as they make new friendships and learn new skills that they can use later in life. THD Junior members, who are predominantly from local private schools, also benefit from engaging with their wider community in a positive and meaningful way, building relationships and understanding that will help our community support and engage with each other in the future”. 

THD Phoenix provides free hockey sessions in a safe and welcoming environment. The sessions are built around fun and enjoyment while teaching hockey skills and nurturing sporting ability. In Year 4, children are invited to attend an introductory session which is followed by selection into the player pathway. The THD Phoenix pathway is a two-year program which starts at the start of the school term in Year 5, this continues into Year 6. Following the second year, the children are supported and transitioned into THD Hockey Club’s U12 Junior teams. 

Primary student Imani-Rae said, “I love how brave and confident I have become playing hockey. I enjoy playing and look forward to our training sessions each week. The coaches use really fun ways to teach us the different moves and techniques. If I keep improving, I might get to play hockey at the Olympics!” 

The ultimate goal is to provide a pathway into THD Hockey Club (and beyond), providing community and financial support, where needed. The club aims to inspire children in the community to play sports throughout childhood and into later life. During the summer term, the coaches will go into local schools and introduce the program to the next cohort.

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