My motivation to start Hockey Inner City stemmed from my time at Durham University. Upon arriving at university, I realised that the vast majority of students were privately educated and from privileged backgrounds. There were very few BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity) and inner city representatives. I believe this is not due to lack of ability but rather a lack of opportunity.
Prior to university, I was fortunate enough to be granted a bursary to study at Whitgift School which gave me the opportunities and support needed to excel in all aspects. I was afforded the opportunity to experience a range of sports such as fencing, racquetball and hockey. Alongside the exposure to different sports and the amazing facilities on offer, I was supported in preparation for higher education.
Hockey is predominantly a middle-class sport and many children do not get the opportunity to play it. This is something I feel passionately about changing. I have had the privilege of representing England and GB at all junior age groups. During this time, I have seen other BAME students thrive in the GB program. However, I believe more can be done to increase the participation of children who would otherwise not have had the chance to play the sport. My hope is that through getting children from different backgrounds involved, more opportunities will become available to children to go on to play the sport at higher levels and potentially represent their nations.
The lack of representation of BAME and inner city individuals at the higher levels of hockey can be attributed largely to the lack of exposure and opportunity in inner city areas. We want to inform and challenge the mindset of these children and their parents:
1. Are bursaries and scholarships fully understood?
2. Is Hockey taught in primary and secondary schools in inner cities?
3. Are children and parents from inner city areas aware of the educational pathways available to them through sport.
This is why I want to start Hockey Inner City, it isn’t just to coach people hockey to be world class players, but to create pathways and provide opportunities as I was, so that children involved in Hockey Inner City projects can achieve great things through hockey, education and an environment for self-development.