Norwich Dragons take flight with Community Cash grant

When Norwich Dragons Hockey Club applied for Sport Relief Community Cash they had a vision – which, 12 months on, the grant they received is helping them achieve.

They wanted to give more children in the city access to their sport, with coaching sessions targeted at young people in deprived areas who might not experience hockey otherwise.

And the �1,000 community cash grant handed over last year has paid for the equipment and coaches to do it.

This year the Evening News, the Norfolk Community Foundation and Sport Relief have another �50,000 to give away to community groups doing great work in the Norwich City Council local authority area.

Grants of �500 to �1,000 are available for charities, social enterprises and projects helping people in deprived or disadvantaged areas of Norwich.

Last year, Norwich Dragons applied for cash to take hockey to children across the city.

President Mike Hardy said: 'The new hockey pitch in Hall Road was opened last June, and we used the grant to buy sticks and balls for our youngsters, and coaching fees.

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'That has helped us to spread the word about hockey. We go into primary school free of charge to run hockey lessons and after-school sessions, and our coaches are welcomed with open arms.'

The club, which was based at Pinebanks and known as Norwich Union Hockey Club until four years ago, has around 80 members in its under-12s section and around 70 aged 13 to 18.

Mr Hardy says another 70 have had a taste of hockey through the grant-funded opportunities. The new equipment allows the club to kit out beginners, saving parents forking out for their child just to try the sport.

'Hockey can be expensive, even for schools, but with the facilities at the Hewett School that means we have another 700 youngsters exposed to hockey where they weren't in the past,' said Mr Hardy.

'Having applied for lots of grants over the last few years for the new pitch, I can say the Community Cash is really worth going for. It's very straightforward.

'We're having to adapt to the influx of new members and with the way the club is growing, next year we will have to adapt again.'