Outside of the Olympics, the pinnacle of any sport is its World Cup – and we have one of our own taking place on these shores now. The Women’s Hockey World Cup comes to London between July 21 and August 5th, and for many connected to the sport – as well as the competition itself – it is a chance to celebrate the sport, to showcase what it’s about, and ultimately to grow the game.

Introducing Hockey Futures

Hockey Futures is a newly established charity with a mission to create a nation where every young person has the opportunity to play hockey. The charity will partner with clubs to create outreach programmes that connect with young people through schools and community organisations the length and breadth of the country. And so, with the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup on the horizon, England Hockey launched the charity recently with the significant help of superstar Emma Watson, no less.

Emma – who made her name in the Harry Potter films and has gone on to have a hugely successful career in Hollywood – played hockey for Rover Oxford as a youngster and, later, at university. She joined in with 20 children in a session delivered by coaches from Waltham Forest Hockey Club.

Hockey was a big part of my life growing up and I’m thrilled that England Hockey are committed to making the sport more accessible to children all over the country through the launch of Hockey Futures. Hockey is the nation’s most gender equal sport and it was fantastic to visit a Hockey Futures session at Thorpe Hall Primary School and see children playing together, learning new skills – and teaching me some new hockey tricks too!

This is such an exciting time for hockey in England, with London hosting the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup this month. All the England games are already sold out, and I hope that the event will draw more young people to the sport. It’s a really important opportunity to celebrate leading sports women from all over the world and I wish all the players every success in their games. Emma Watson

Hockey Futures is aiming to raise £1m by the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo. This will allow the charity to support 50 clubs in areas with very little access to hockey, allowing it to reach out to 20,000 or so young people in disadvantaged communities.

Fundraising

Every pound counts and will help to provide coaches, equipment and programmes to the most deprived inner city areas in the UK. Can you help?

  • £10 will provide a stick and a ball for one young person
  • £100 will provide a complete team with essential equipment
  • £350 will provide a Quicksticks equipment pack to encourage ongoing delivery in the school
  • £500 ensures a 6-week programme, including coaches and resources during curriculum time for one year group

These sort of initiatives and programmes are vital in so many ways – giving kids the opportunity to play sport is the tip of the iceberg, and the benefits reverberate far beyond the confines of hockey itself and into personal lives, families, communities and society. You can donate to Hockey Futures here – and find out more about it on the website.

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