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Sittingbourne Hockey Club (SHC) would like to announce it is officially providing free hockey for anyone who is eligible to play U16 hockey. Firstly, we would like to thank our primary sponsor The Kent Nirvana Group. Nathan and his team, at The Kent Nirvana Group, have played an extensive part in enabling the club to offer free hockey to anyone under the age of 16.

The club would also like to thank those who have generously made donations to the club. We are eternally grateful.

Before we delve into this article, we are extending an invite to all members of SHC, non-members and the wider community to attend the launch of this initiative.

Hockey 4 All

Monday 8th May 2023

14:00 - 16:00

Sittingbourne Hockey Club, Borden Grammar School,

ME10 4DB

Whether you’re 8 or 80, we would love to see you all there and witness this historic chapter in our club's history and legacy. You'll be able to participate in our small-sided hockey matches and catch up with new and old friends in the club house.

We (SHC) are excited that we have the been able to put this initiative together within 3 months of putting the idea on the table. The greatest part of all is that it will be totally free. No match fees, no training fees and no membership fees. Anyone under 16 will have access to free hockey in a safe, exciting, all-inclusive and welcoming environment. This will set our club apart from any other in Swale. The cost of living has certainly impacted everyone from all walks of life. We have seen this year alone that there was a 12% drop in attendance to training due to the £3.00 charge. While other parents simply could not afford multiple membership fees.

SHC has had a long-standing history in the England hockey system producing a number of national league players and international coaches. This is a legacy SHC wishes to continue. While hockey is most recognised to be a part of the affluent private school culture, SHC wants to work with Swale Borough Council, South East Hockey Assoc and England Hockey to promote and support hockey in all state schools.

The time is now and we are ready to deliver on an exceptional hockey programme, which will allow all abilities to be the best versions of themselves. From the children who want to enjoy being active with their friends and family, to those who want to play in the England National League or move to another country and play in elite programme, SHC is ready to make whatever dream come true.

I caught up with 4 of our club members to hear more on their thoughts.

Ed Carter

Chair of Sittingbourne HC

The initiative gives the club the opportunity to give more juniors the chance to try hockey, improve their hockey and join a family-friendly sports club in the heart of Sittingbourne…all for free! It will hopefully allow us to introduce the sport we love to juniors (who traditionally might not have played hockey before) and give them access to free sport - something many clubs cannot all offer. In today’s cost of living crisis and the area of Swale, where money is not abundant, that may be a game-changer. In being able to offer free hockey, we have been seeing brilliant support from our own members through donations and sponsorship. Kent Active Sports made a generous donation and then out of the blue the Nirvana group got in touch.

Iain Burwood

Lead Junior Coach and Vice Chair of Sittingbourne HC

There are countless positive impacts. By offering free hockey and providing all necessary equipment, there is nothing holding younger people back. It doesn’t matter what their personal status is, they can come and try it. The only cost is their time and travel and if they love it (as they will), they will benefit massively from being in a fun, social, safe environment, which is great for mental and physical well-being. We have a strong coaching team, who have a wealth of knowledge. This coaching team are 100% vital to our club and we need to build on our coaching structure, upscale current coaches‘ knowledge base and give the best, most-current coaching to our players no matter what age or experience.

Clair D

Women's Club Captain of Sittingbourne HC

I am excited for this amazing initiative. It will ensure a strong women’s section and wide selection of potential players at SHC for future years to come. It will provide the ability and security for young players to nurture their hockey ambitions, without financial constraint and knowing they will have the support and guidance from experienced coaches and players. I feel optimistic that the SHC women’s section will continue to take pride in the importance of the link between our members and their already strong connections with the wider community.

Stephen Mina-Jones

Partnerships and Club Director of Sittingbourne HC

Advancing on our recent partnership with Faversham Ladies Hockey Club, I am looking to provide an opportunity for local schools within Swale. My aim is to provide sporting equipment, deliver physical education and share knowledge of hockey to their pupils. We hope these school partnerships will encourage those under 16s to participate in a lesser-known sport, which has a proven track record to deliver influential humans. For example, Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh are world leaders in delivering seminars on diversity in sport and leading the way in encouraging women back into sport.

If you would like to get involved through coaching, umpiring, donating or simply helping run the bar and the kitchen in the club house, please do not hesitate to contact the club.

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