Pembroke Octopush Club has been awarded a chunk of National Lottery funding to help more local people become immersed in the excitement of underwater hockey.
A sport for all ages, octopush is played at the bottom of a swimming pool with players using small sticks to push a weighted puck into their opponent’s goal.
Pembroke Octopush Club has been making waves since 1989 and have bagged the title of Welsh champions twelve times since 2007. Many of their members have gone on to play for Team GB at the European and World underwater hockey championships. Now, they’re hoping to get more young people trying the sport.
Like many sports, octopush requires specialist equipment which can often be expensive. From session fees to kit, not everyone can afford to try something new.
So, to help break down this financial barrier and enable more people to sample octopush, the club used £3,559 of lottery funding – distributed by Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales Fund – to purchase pucks, goals, starter kits for new players, and pay for up to ten hours of venue hire for a new group of swimmers.
Thanks to the funding, the starter kits can be loaned out by the club, with no pressure on new members to return them within a particular timeframe.
Nick Barnett, Chairman of the club, said: “One of the things I find really interesting is the fact there’s so many different backgrounds that people are coming from into this club.
“If anyone has problems with purchasing kit, thanks to this funding we now have kit which we can provide in order to bring these youngsters on.”
Owen Hathway, Assistant Director for Insight, Policy and Public Affairs for Sport Wales, said: “The Be Active Wales Fund is aimed at helping clubs create opportunities for more people to get active, and Pembroke Octopush Club are an excellent example of a club doing just that.
“We know from the School Sport Survey that children from less affluent backgrounds face specific challenges to being active, so we’re delighted to support clubs that are helping to break this barrier to sport.”
David Thompson, club secretary, said: “We’re really proud to have been awarded the funding from the Be Active Wales Fund. It’s really helped us make octopush more accessible to people from Pembroke and the surrounding area.”
For further details about Pembroke Octopush Club, find them on social media @pembrokeoctopushclub.
Thanks to players of the National Lottery, more than £30 million a week goes to good causes across the UK through initiatives such as Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales Fund. If you would like to find out more about how the Be Active Wales Fund could be used to help develop more sporting opportunities for all members of your local community, please visit www.sport.wales