INSPIRATIONAL HOCKEY FESTIVAL

ucp marjon plymouth logoThe Plymouth Primary Schools Mixed Hockey Festival has been granted the Inspire Mark - the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme – as the festival celebrates its 10th year.

This year's mixed hockey festival takes place today and tomorrow at University College Plymouth St Mark & St John (UCP Marjon) and will involve 60 primary school teams from the region.

The highly popular annual event aims to inspire young players to join a club with the opportunity to attend club-based development centres across the city for four weeks following this week's festival.

In addition the event will see a team over 50 young leaders from schools and Higher Education students working together to deliver an event involving nearly 600 pupils.

Seb Coe, Chair, London organising committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said: “Plymouth Primary Mixed Hockey Festival is encouraging hockey players from primary schools and young officials to fulfil their potential. I am proud that with the help of partners such as UCP Marjon, we are delivering on our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in sport.”

Jamie Oxley, UCP Marjon RELAYS co-ordinator said: “The event has inspired thousands of youngsters over the years and this year is even more special marking our anniversary in the build up to the London Games. The aim is to inspire and provide as many players with a positive experience that they want to join a local club or become a volunteer coach & official.”

Oxley - who has over seen the annual event's growth since its 2002 inception - said: "It's all about participation and I am delighted with the festival's progress. When we started there were about 15 or 16 schools involved. Now we are up to 60 and interest continues to grow.

"It is not about one particular club but getting youngsters involved in sport, in this case hockey, and keeping them interested for the future.

"Participation is key and so is enjoyment. I think that's led to the popularity of the festival. Long may it continue.

"As far as we know it's the biggest primary schools hockey tournament staged anywhere in the country - certainly over just two days."

Through the RELAYS community classrooms project UCP Marjon work with students from across the city to develop their coaching and leadership skills to provide sporting opportunities for all.

The development of coaches and umpires is a key focus at this year’s festival and just one example of the work of the RELAYS project with the support of Devon Hockey Umpire's Association’s Julia Gill and Paddy Porter, volunteers providing coaching to support the development of the umpires.

The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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