Grassroots Series: Sevenoaks Hockey Club

April 14, 2021

Grassroots Series: Sevenoaks Hockey Club

Learn more about the extraordinary story of Sevenoaks Hockey Club, who have been championing the sport… since 1912

From player to coach to Head of Hockey, meet Pete

I’m Pete Barker. I am currently Head of Hockey at Sevenoaks HC.

I joined the club in 1996 when I moved to Sevenoaks from Buckinghamshire. I played and coached juniors for many years and currently umpire and manage the Men’s first team.

From 15 members in 1912 to over 500 players now

The Hockey Club started with 15 members early in 1912, comprising men and women and forming a mixed team. For many years the club was basically nomadic, playing wherever we could find a ground in the Sevenoaks area.

After the First World War, the club started playing matches again in 1919 with a membership of thirty players, allowing men’s, ladies’ and mixed matches to be played.

As of 2021, we now have 8 ladies’ teams and 9 men’s teams, with over 570 junior members aged 6-18. There is a high proportion of girls playing hockey.

With so many keen hockey players of all ages and abilities, our home ground, the Hollybush Lane Fortress in the heart of Sevenoaks, is in near-constant use, which requires the hiring of additional facilities for mid-week training and weekend matches.

Fostering an environment of dedication, pride and productive competition.

Sevenoaks Hockey Club’s primary goal is to cultivate talent and aspiration in anyone who loves hockey by developing players and leaders, encouraging participation, and building community through lifelong friendships.

Through this dedication, we provide a safe and fun environment for members, young and old, to learn essential skills, both on the pitch and in their lives outside of hockey.

We are, first and foremost, a community-driven club where teams quickly become akin to family. Our ambition on the field allows members to strive to be the best they can, fostering an environment of dedication, pride and productive competition.

A club built on membership, sponsorship and fundraising efforts

We are a non-profit club that is built on volunteers, fundraising efforts, sponsorship and membership fees. Over 50% of the income is from membership subscriptions. Sponsorship contributes another 10%. The rest comes from donations, junior coaching programmes and other sources.

A high calibre of hockey requires a high level of funding

Our extensive membership base has caused a variety of funding difficulties in terms of allocation of resources, such as pitch hire etc, and has increased overheads gradually over the years.

Equally, as the club grows so does the standard of hockey. It’s a wonderful problem to have but it does mean that there are more financial pressures such as funding travel, high-level coaching and equipment for the more elite teams, in addition to increased requirements to adhere to national standards.

As a club that is over 100 years old, our facilities are in great need of restoration, presenting another financial challenge and requiring a huge amount of investment. Even without the effects of the pandemic, this presents us with a significant challenge.

Our hockey season has been severely affected as a result of COVID and the club plans to make adjustments to ensure that no surplus is made as a result of COVID-19. Our sponsors have also been affected by the pandemic which casts an air of uncertainty around the continuation of their support.

Furthermore, all fundraising activities have ground to a halt. Income, from the hire of our pitch to external users such as schools and other clubs, has also been significantly affected.

Beyond COVID – taking the team to the highest level

Sevenoaks Hockey Club’s desire is to increase hockey participation in the local area and to see its top teams compete at the highest possible level.

To learn more about Sevenoaks Hockey Club, you can visit their website : https://www.sevenoakshockey.club/

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