Thank you for taking the time to read why I believe I am the right person to help guide & grow Bedford Hockey Club
I've been a part of Bedford HC for over 26 years and have been lucky enough to experience all aspects of the club in one way or another. Ranging from playing as a junior on Sunday morning at the age of 6 to representing the men's 1s in Prem A. Off the pitch I like to be an active member of the club having coached both senior & junior sides, arranged multiple summer league teams and having umpired at some point all teams through the club.
Experience in running the club:
From the committee aspect I've held or been involved in the majority of positions from subs sec to club captain which gives me an excellent understanding as to how a club of this size is run & any an understanding of each position along with the complications they can face. I'd look to set up smaller sub committees to help take some of the strain off some key positions which the club can not run without but also finds difficult to recruit for, e.g. the umpire liaison officer. We have training setup for our players on a weekly basis, but nothing yet to develop juniors or members who would like to learn about the non playing side of our sport.
Juniors & local schools:
Moving forwards I'd like to help the club grow by securing & improving our links with our local schools. Bedford is an education town with a huge amounts of schools all within 15-20minutes of the club. We should look to work with the schools, by helping develop the teachers’ knowledge of the sport so it can be made more available to the local kids. The club could also run & host a midweek league for the local schools which would not only get more youngsters playing the sport and at the club, but can also be used as a way of raising funds.
The University of Bedfordshire:
I'd look to setup an official link with the University of Bedfordshire. Linking up with the university will not only increased the depth & quality of players at the club but there are many more benefits. When after an umpire for matches on Saturdays more often then not it is students who put their hands up for the £10 to step in & help out. As a lot of the students are training to become teachers they are also keen to develop their coaching, so this is not just a source of players, but also umpires & coaches. Further to this there are specific courses at the university where the students have to partner up with a local sports team as a physio and with a direct link we would become the first port of call for these students.
Links with other clubs
For developing our existing talent I'd like to set up a structured programme for coaches & umpires where anyone who is interested can receive an immediate support network and to ensure they get the help they require from senior members in the club. Also using our existing hockey network/links with Australian & Dutch clubs, explore the possibility of twinning with a non U.K. based club to share knowledge and best practice.
Sponsorship & Fundraising
The club recently has managed to take on a very generous club shirt sponsor. I'd like to set up a fundraising committee made up of members who would be keen on helping raise money for the new pitch fund & any future projects the club might have. Bedford is full of lots of small businesses who would be keen on generating some good exposure for relatively small expense. We can approach some of these local businesses with a set tier structure of what we can offer as a club, and also some more bespoke ideas.
These are just some of the ideas I'd like to work towards with the club if I was elected in and I haven't even been able to touch on the fun stuff like organising tours or even hosting tournaments!
Vote me in as Chairman and let me help grow the club I love!
Updated 17:52 - 15 May 2017 by James Oakley