Last year, we crowned two clubs as the EHF Club of the Year 2015, Scotland’s Uddingston HC took the prize for Small Club (under 300 members) and this week we’re catching up with the winner in the Large Category (over 300 members), England’s Sevenoaks HC!
What has the last year been like for the club after being named EHF Club of the Year 2015?
It was a thrilling recognition for the Club to win the award and it came following some great successes on the playing side for both our Men’s and Ladies’ Senior sections. We have a constantly growing Junior programme and a thriving “Back-to-Hockey” initiative as well. This is all dependent upon a whole army of volunteers who selflessly give their time behind the scenes to drive the Club forward. The EHF award was then complemented in May when we were named “Club of the Season” at the England Hockey Awards.
The Work Never Ends
How are you maintaining the momentum that helped you achieve the recognition?
Since receiving the EHF Award, the Club has continued to go from strength to strength. On the playing side both our first teams (men and women) are challenging for their respective League titles and possible promotion to the National Premier League. The Men’s Indoor side has just secured a third consecutive Indoor Premier League finals spot at Wembley and several of our other sides are either top of their divisions or set for a second half push, some following on from promotions last season. Cup successes have also been achieved and we were especially pleased for our Mixed side to win the National Plate last season coming on the back of recent National Cup/Trophy victories for the Ladies Over35s and Over45s plus Men’s Over50s. The Lee Valley/Olympic Park has been a home-from-home recently!
What other big initiatives is the club involved with?
We are very proud of our burgeoning Junior section. We now have over 600 juniors in our programme which can only be a success with the aid of many volunteer coaches. It is testimony to the inclusiveness, community and family spirit of the club that we have so many willing to give their time. Four of our Junior teams have just returned from a tournament in Barcelona where they gained wonderful experiences as well as trophy success. We have also seen representative honours all the way up to national level.
The continued success of our “Back-to-Hockey” initiative over the last two seasons is also an important and ongoing initiative. During last summer we had over 40 regular attendees from those either wishing to get back into hockey or even taking it up for the first time. This has been especially strong among the Ladies section and extra teams are being provided to meet our growing playing base.
How has receiving the award helped you?
The EHF Award has not only been beneficial on the pitch. It has raised the profile of our Club among both the hockey and local communities. As well as helping us to support local causes, this has been extremely well received by our current sponsors and also helped us when approaching new ones. Sponsorship is always an important challenge for any sports club but being recognised by our federations has given us extra impetus and enhanced our standing. It also shows our local community that the Club is recognised nationally and internationally as a well-run and developing organisation. This can only aid us in discussions with the Local Councils for future much-needed plans to develop our own Clubhouse and pitches.
The last few seasons have seen some amazing results for our Club and as we now enter 2017 we look back on last year’s successes and the EHF Club of the Year Award with great pride – and aim to use them as a springboard for more success in the years to come.
How can you apply for this award?
EHF is now accepting applications for Club of the Year 2016 (Deadline January 29th). This award highlights those clubs who grow and promote hockey in their communities. Efforts to develop not only players, but also volunteer base, coaches, umpires and facilities are important factors in the award as well. In order to become the EHF Club of the Year 2015, clubs must be nominated by their National Associations.
For 2015, we will have 2 categories available: Large Club of the Year ( more than 300 members) and Small Club of the Year (less than 300 members). All documentation needed to apply has been sent to your National Association, so make sure to apply! For more information on our Club of The Year award click here.