As medals were won at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the first shoots of England Hockey’s legacy project started to grow.
The project has three broad outcomes: to deliver the new England Hockey strategy with a particular focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and young people; to use the Games to profile hockey in a more diverse way, and to strengthen relationships with clubs and partners.
Using funding from Sport England’s Birmingham 2022 NGB Innovation & Digital Fund, England Hockey began by working in Birmingham and the West Midlands with plans to roll out the programme across the country.
“Of the delivery that we've done so far, we've done it in two different ways,” said Jo Duff, England Hockey’s Head of Development.
“We've worked directly with hockey clubs to reach new underserved groups and audiences within their local community that they don't currently reach as effectively as they might do.
“We've also worked with a whole range of new delivery partners because they understand the audiences that they work with day to day.
“Sharing their expertise and insight into the key audiences that they serve has really helped us as they've got access into those communities and into those groups where we previously didn't.”
England Hockey began by focusing on three underserved groups of people: young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, people from ethnic and culturally diverse communities, and people with long-term health impairments.
One of the organisations England Hockey partnered with was the Muslim Sports Foundation, which allowed them to tap into their connections.
Duff added: “Their knowledge and understanding as to how we would need to shape our offer to suit that community was really helpful.
“So was their ability to help us advertise the sessions, the activity and reach into that community, through their communication networks, their databases and the links they had locally as well.”
One of the key elements of the legacy project was adapting hockey to fit around a community’s or delivery partners needs by taking into account the nature of their facilities, access needs and by training delivery partners to add hockey to their existing activity programmes.
Starting in 2024, the project will now be rolled out on a larger scale across the country as England Hockey look to redress the balance around EDI.
“Our wider EDI framework we set out 18 months ago said quite clearly that we recognised that collectively as a sport, we needed to get better at reaching some of these communities we weren't currently reaching,” Duff said.
“From the Commonwealth Games legacy work initially, we said we were going to try and specifically target three of those audiences we recognised were underrepresented in the sport.
“A lot of the work we’ve done has been to try and help us understand how we need to shape that delivery.
“We want to make it as successful as possible, in order to redress the balance a little bit and make hockey as a sport a bit more reflective of the wider community and the population more generally.”
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Legacy Project information is available now.
This project is aligned to the England Hockey ED&I Framework which is live on the website now.