City Hub leads the way in channeling Rio legacy
THE Cambridge Primary Schools Hub is the brainchild of Andy Richardson, brother of Helen Richardson-Walsh, so the Cambridge City Hockey Club chairman had no hesitation in pulling in some family favours when he asked his sister and her wife, Kate RichardsonWalsh, to visit the city to launch the initiative.
Cambridge City HC hold junior sessions on Sunday mornings and, while 300 children attend the already over-subscribed club, there are still many, many children who miss out because they can’t get there or have other commitments at that time.
Andy Richardson’s idea is to create five hubs around the city, where five secondary schools run after-school clubs that the primary schools feed into. In turn, the pupils will be channeled towards one of the city’s three hockey clubs once they reach the appropriate age or level of ability. The Perse School is the first to take up the ini-
tiative, with seven feeder primary schools sending pupils to the after-school club, which is run throughout the year by The Perse School’s hockey staff and a team of 18-20 sixth-formers. Dan Cross, senior deputy head at the school and a former international hockey player, is delighted the school is leading the way: “We are lucky to be in a position to be able to do something special on the back of London and Rio. We have a strong hockey history and we have three international players on our coaching staff, plus Glenn Kirkham [former Great Britain captain] is returning as director of sport. With a new, second, floodlit astroturf and an established network of primary school links, this seems the perfect way to keep the Olympic legacy going.”
Kate Richardson-Walsh said: “What is being done in Cambridge is a fantastic thing. They are getting five hub areas that work with clubs so that kids have an easy opportunity to get to hockey.
“Times and money are tight, so to give kids access to hockey within a normal working day and then giving them a pathway to a club, that is the first step into the hockey family. We all know what a great thing it is for a young player to join a club and get to play alongside all sorts of different people. But, we also know it has to be the norm from an early age. By getting school kids to go to clubs from an early age will instil a habit for life.”
“This is crazy,” said one parent whose daughter is at Queen Edith’s Primary School. “My daughter is hockey mad and here she is meeting two Olympic gold medallists. We are just a state school, things like this don’t happen. Like she needed anymore motivation! I think I might have quite a few years ahead standing on the edge of a hockey pitch.”