• HockeyWales

Aberystwyth University Hockey Club: Fundraising Fanatics

April is Stress Awareness Month across the UK.

To highlight the support that our hockey clubs give their members we have caught up with President of Aberystwyth University Women’s Hockey Club, Nicola Hall, about their LGBTQ+ and mental health focus.

Throughout lockdown the club have initiated a multitude of charitable endeavours, working closely with the community to raise funds for Mind Aberystwyth who raise awareness about mental health issues and are attempting to break the stigma.

This is a cause particularly close to the hearts of many at the club as many members have the additional difficulties that come with being away at university.

Following some enlightening mental health training courses in leadership and coping methods the club teamed up with other societies at the university to openly discuss the impact of sport on mental health. The club now wants to build on the success of this and highlight how sport can help and be a safe haven for those in need.

“Clubs need to be proactive not reactive in the struggle against mental health”

Nicola stressed the importance of having a welcoming hub to remind you of who you are and what you can do, and she is hopeful that Hockey Wales will be able to provide similar training to clubs across Wales to increase the positive experience of hockey across the nation.By putting an emphasis on raising awareness of LGBTQ+ members, the club want to ensure no-one feels isolated and that they are open and welcoming to all.

To highlight their acceptance of all, the club encouraged members to wear rainbow laces to demonstrate their support of the LGBTQ+ community and worked with Stonewall who work to create inclusive and accepting cultures.

Members are also required to sign a zero-tolerance discrimination policy upon registration which allows the club to hold people accountable for their actions and create a wholly inclusive and positive experience for all.

Members have been incredibly forthcoming, and this community effort is a shining example for clubs across the country. Club member Luke Archer explained,

“‘I have always felt involved and part of the team despite being gay. I soon realised that my sexual orientation did not matter when I stepped onto the pitch and that I was treated as an equal by all my teammates.
“Even though members of the LGBTQ+ community in sport still encounter discrimination and abuse, I believe that AUMHC & AUWHC do a brilliant job of supporting their members regardless of their sexuality’- Luke Archer

Lockdown has been a difficult time for all, but Nicola has noticed a massive improvement in community spirit as members are desperate to be united on the pitch following such a productive few months.

Nicola urges all clubs to get involved in any way possible to show support to all areas of diversity and inclusion in order to make people feel secure, included and welcome.

We encourage everyone to keep an eye out for their upcoming fundraising endeavours as they continue this journey of acceptance and positivity.

‘AUWHC has been a massive part of my life and I’m proud to be able to say I’ve never felt I have to hide who I am with this club. The club has helped me to become more confident with who I am and accept myself more.’ – Anonymous

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