A comprehensive school has a new partnered with Wimbledon Hockey Club to build an AstroTurf hockey pitch opening in September.
Raynes Park School wants to encourage students to get involved with more extra-curricular activities.
This new pitch will not only be used for school matches, but also elite hockey games and will enable the club to expand participation for young people.
Construction will take place during the school holidays with the new pitch due to open in time for the school’s Open Evening on September 27.
The Wimbledon Hockey Club will be funding the new pitch and paying for its maintenance.
Raynes Park High School is a co-educational comprehensive school which educates around 1,000 pupils, aged 11 to 19.
Raynes Park High School is very happy with this new partnership and believes it will be very beneficial for the students as well as the staff.
It became the first state school to be an accredited Tim Henman Foundation BECSLink Community in March this year.
The school is working alongside national and local Merton businesses, education charities to provide outstanding resources and learning opportunities for young people and the additional AstroTurf hockey pitch shows how the school also thrives in sports.
This offers students and teachers not only from Raynes Park High School, but also other local schools the opportunity to develop new skills and interests.
The investor in this new AstroTurf hockey pitch, Wimbledon Hockey Club, founded in 1883, is one of the world’s oldest hockey clubs.
Wimbledon is one of the largest and most successful hockey clubs in the country with both the men’s and women’s teams fielding multiple current Great Britain internationals.
The club has also recently started working more widely in the community with schools, such as Raynes Park, on outreach project, which has been able to bring hockey to 2,000 local Merton state school children.
Kirsten Heard, headteacher of Raynes Park High School said: ‘We are delighted to be partnering with Wimbledon Hockey Club on this joint initiative. It will put the school on the map as a community school and garner interest in hockey.’
Head of junior hockey at Wimbledon, Paul Knowles, said: ‘This partnership secures the club’s long-term future use of a world class pitch. The extended hours will be expanding our junior programme and enable the club to inspire more local children to take part in the sport we love. Raynes Park High School have been a pleasure to work with and we look forward to supporting them.’
Crista Cullen, MBE, Olympic gold medal field hockey player and a member of the Wimbledon Hockey Club, said: ‘As part of the women’s Great Britain squad at the Rio Olympics, we agreed that our team’s aim was to inspire the next generation. Therefore, I’m proud that the newly developed pitch will inspire local boys and girls to enjoy sport supported by our team of international players and coaches from Wimbledon.’
Pictured above are (l-r): Olympic gold medalist Crista Cullen, pupil Ashton Keddo, Wimbledon’s head of junior hockey Paul Knowles, pupil Raquel Spindla and head teacher Kirsten Heard.