Uddingston: The progressive Scottish hockey club in ‘development’

Since being presented with the EHF Club of the Year Award in 2015, Uddingston has been a forward-thinking club on the rise. The Hockey Paper thought it time to get the lowdown behind the scenes of the Scottish club, with a Q&A session with their director of hockey, Harry Dunlop.

THP: Harry, since your award in 2015, how have things gone for the club?

HD: The club has continued to be in “development” mode and anyone who knows us is always commenting how we never stand still and there is always something happening behind the scenes. Since the award in 2015 we have grown to 10 senior teams with our men’s and women’s 1s now both playing in the Premiership, a youth section of around 350 children who train weekly and this year we have started a community focused Walking Hockey Club.

THP: How did you manage during Covid?

HD: Initially, in the early stages, we felt we had a duty of care to our members and young people so we moved everything to online and at one point were delivering nine sessions weekly that included technical, fitness classes plus just general sessions like social quizzes and catch ups. Once allowed back on the pitch we were so lucky to have our own facility and a club manager, who ran things brilliantly to allow us to maximize sessions even during the hardest of times to get as many players as possible back on the pitch and out the house.

THP: Since the removal of Covid restrictions, how are you placed as a club?

HD: Our memberships have sustained, if not increased since the removal of restrictions, which means we can continue to develop the club. After two years of non-activity within the community, we would like to re-engage the local community by returning to offer in school programmes, host local hockey festivals, offer further youth opportunities etc, which is why we, along with the help of club partners, have decided to employ two full time community development coaches.

While we’re on the subject, applications for both posts are still open until the start of July and to apply click here or you can request full details of the employment opportunity via uddingstonhc@gmail.com

THP: Your women’s 1’s have recently been promoted to Premiership along with your established men’s 1s, tell us about that!

HD: We are very proud of all our teams however our men’s over the last five years have now established themselves as a Premiership team. Last season was our women’s first season in the Premiership and they finished a respectable mid-table.

The club’s long term plans are to develop a squad of home-grown performance-focused players that would be the foundation of all teams however we accept that to take that next step, we will be required to increase the opportunity to develop quality players with the mentoring of visiting players. This means our players will learn extra hockey skills but also on a social level, experience a cultural exchange within hockey.

Therefore as a club we are always looking for players and are in great position by being able to offer employment across various sectors plus the chance to develop education and business careers whilst playing at the club with us always happy to hear from anyone.

THP: You also have a scholarship Programme. What is this exactly?

HD: Over the years we have supported many of our players, particularly those within our performance program with the aim of allowing them to focus fully on their hockey, without financial constraints.

Recently again via the support of our fantastic club partners we formalized our scholarship program that was mainly aimed towards higher education age students with full details here.

Examples of support have included providing nutritional programs to international level student players who found themselves too busy to eat a balanced diet due to work commitments, hockey and a busy lifestyle. After consultations, we provided them with a food delivery program that allowed them to continue a healthy, balanced life.

Another example being we provided a full-time job, with educational opportunities to a player who was being forced to move due to financial restraints. The player has since gone onto successfully completing a Masters degree and now has a full time career in engineering whilst progressing their hockey performance career. The club would like to continue to support new and existing players with many more tailored options available

THP: You have been awarded some international events to be held at Uddingston over the summer and looking to broaden your reach with a digital offering. Tell us about that.

HD: We have been very much rewarded for all our efforts by Scottish Hockey and during June we will host Scotland U21s v Wales, Scotland U21s v USA, a Four Nations event including Scotland, USA, Ireland and Wales and finally in August we host a Eurohockey Championship Qualifier including Scotland, Wales, Switzerland and Gibraltar.

An amazing summer of International hockey at Uddingston with everyone welcome to attend.

THP: Finally, what is next for the club as you do always seem to be “developing” to say the least?

Uddy TV is our current focus as we have partnered up with a local University to start a stand alone not for profit TV station that will start live streaming all levels of hockey from our facility in Uddingston. University of West of Scotland have worked hand in hand with the club and again with the support of club partners we have invested heavily in buildings, infrastructure and equipment to provide up to a 12 camera live streaming platform.

All going well we will be able to utilize some of the events being held at Uddingston as test events prior to our formal launch in August for the Eurohockey Championship qualifier.

THP: Thanks Harry, it’s always good to catch up with a progressive club like you to see what they are up to!

HD: Thank you from everyone at Uddingston. You and your readership are always welcome to come to visit us at Uddingston HC. We are open to all!

If you would like to find out any more about the club club please feel free to email them at uddingstonhc@gmail.com.

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