HC Deb 11 June 2002 vol 386 cc1167-8W
Mr. Heald

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what estimate she has made of(a) the number of people who play hockey, (b) the number of children and young people who play hockey and (c) the trend in levels of participation in hockey; [58323]

(2) if she will make a statement on the effect of the financial situation of English Hockey on the organisation and promotion of hockey among young people; [58322]

(3) if she will make a statement on the state of hockey in England; [58324]

(4) what steps she is taking to promote and develop hockey among young people in the inner cities. [58325]

Mr. Caborn

[holding answer 21 May 2002]: The Government Plan for Sport sets out a framework and range of policies aimed at increasing participation in all sports particularly among young people with an emphasis on the part that sport can play in tackling a range of objectives including social exclusion, crime reduction and better health. The implementation of programmes to promote and develop particular sports is a matter for the relevant governing bodies.

Following a Special General Meeting on 4 May 2002, the English Hockey Association is currently being restructured into a new organisation to be called "Hockey England Ltd.". I am assured that, despite this restructuring, the new governing body intends to continue actively to promote the sport at all levels in the future. Its main funding comes from annual subscriptions paid by member clubs, of which there are approximately 1,650 representing some 165,000 active club members playing in some 4,300 teams. In addition, elite English hockey players and the governing body's grass roots activities will continue to receive support and funding from Sport England. When the restructuring has been completed the new governing body expects to be a strong, financially solid organisation providing for hockey requirements at all levels in England. It believes that the game will continue to be played by people of all ages and both sexes with a high proportion of participants from ethnic minorities.

The governing body has a network of regional development managers across England in the north, south, east, west and midlands. Each of these managers has a specific brief to aid and assist the development of hockey in the regions, with specific emphasis on youth and in the inner cities in particular.

The General Household survey carried out in 1996, the latest year for which this survey collected figures for sports participation, indicated that in England 118,000 adults had played hockey at least once in the previous four weeks. Sport England's Young People in Sport Survey carried out in 1999 indicated that 409,300 young people aged six to 16 participated in hockey out of school lessons at least 10 times in the previous 12 months, while in school lessons 1,200,000 young people participated at least 10 times in the last 12 months. The governing body's view is that the numbers involved in men's, women's and mixed hockey will remain constant and that participation by juniors is likely to rise due largely to the increasing use of artificial pitches.