Durham University host World Cup-themed school festival

DUHC schools festival
On Thursday 15 February Durham University hockey club held a junior festival as part of their community outreach programme and England Hockey’s Your World Cup campaign. We caught up with the club about the day and future activities they have planned. 

The club have launched ‘Hurray 4 Hockey’ - their Community Outreach Programme - aimed at improving relations with the local community and increasing participation in hockey for those of all abilities, as well as increasing access to the club's top facilities at Maiden Castle. 

Their Junior Festivals - the first being the Winning World Cup - took place at the Graham Sport Centre, makes up just one of four current branches of their community programme which started last term which they plan to develop throughout this term and next.

As the Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup is being hosted in London later this year, this is one of the first World Cup-related events in the country, with more than two hundred children from twelve local clubs arriving to play on the clubs two high quality hockey pitches. 

The event was created, organised and run entirely by thirty student volunteers from DUHC, with a skills clinic in the morning and a tournament in the afternoon. Many of their junior and senior internationals were on hand to give tips and share their expertise, whilst their performance coaches gave masterclasses and presented the prizes which were kindly donated to the event by Mercian Hockey.

DUHC volunteers

Club captain Cat McLellan said: “Durham University Hockey Club’s Winning World Cup Junior Festival was an absolutely fantastic day for the club and I would like to extend thanks to all the parents, coaches, student volunteers and of course the participants for making the festival so enjoyable.
"I would like to extend a particular thank you to Emma Headley - Vice Club Captain of DUHC - who organised and co-ordinated the whole event and Harriet Tebbs - our Relationship Manager through England Hockey - without whom the event would not have taken place. For our first festival, we’re delighted with how many people from the local community were able to get involved and we can’t wait to iron out the creases to create an even better experience during May half-term at our next Junior Festival.

"One of the best things moments of the day was seeing Durham Dales, a club who recently celebrated their first anniversary, participating in their first tournament. One boy turned to Emma halfway through the day and said: 'Thank you so much for organising today, I’m having so much fun!'"

Sunderland Broom juniors were also in attendance and shared how much they enjoyed the day!

Sunderland Broom HC tweet

Their other current Hurray 4 Hockey branches, all organised and led by the students at the Graham Sport Centre, are:
  • Walking Hockey – aimed at those with limited mobility to make hockey accessible for all, irrespective of ability, and promoting a safe, fun environment to learn new skills and meet new people (Every Friday, 13:30 – 14:30)
  • Back to Hockey – an informal, fun way to get fit and meet new people (Every Friday. 12:00 – 13:00)
  • DUHC Coaching Roadshow – students have been visiting local clubs to assist with predominantly junior sessions
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