This week marks inclusion charity Stonewall UK's Rainbow Laces Week. Wapping HC is proud to support this campaign to make sport everyone's game and it was inspiring to see so many members wearing their rainbow laces on the weekend. While Stonewall's campaign relates specifically to LGBT people, it's all an opportune time to talk about inclusion and diversity more generally.
As England Hockey says, "hockey is proud that it is a diverse, inclusive team sport played equally by men and women and enjoyed by all regardless of gender, sexuality, age, race or religion." Wapping HC wholeheartedly embraces this ethos and it was pleasing to see so many responses to the club survey talk about the welcoming and progressive spirit the club has. We must never take this for granted though, we need to continually challenge ourselves to ensure we are living up to our values, both collectively and individually. This is something both the Exec and Committee have been doing recently, and it is in that spirit that I am writing to you today.
Inclusion and diversity are words that are used with increasing frequency. I would observe that media coverage over the past couple of months means that respect is also worthy of a mention. So what do these words mean in practice? For the club, it means fostering an environment where inclusion, diversity and respect are not only spoken about, but action is taken. Some of the things we have done in this respect include running free back to hockey sessions for adults during the summer, providing youth hockey at a minimal cost on Saturday mornings and setting up a Kidds Bursary to support disadvantage youth, establishing a Flyerz club for disabled hockey, actively supporting campaigns like Stonewall's and participating in charity tournaments for organisations like SportsAid. We also participate in our local community, collecting items of clothing and food for the Whitechapel mission, our Vice President of Community, Sandra Akinbolu, visits local schools, and help out at local events like the Wapping Christmas Fair (more details on this below).
We are a fun, social club, and we want everyone to enjoy themselves. However the responsibility for upholding the values of inclusion, diversity and respect also fall to all of us as individuals. The vast majority of the time I think we all do a brilliant job of this and it is my utmost hope that this will continue. So what are we asking of you? Along with helping out with the initiatives above where you can, I hope it goes without saying that we all treat each other with the respect we would expect to be accorded to ourselves. Putting yourself in another person's shoes is an incredibly powerful way of realising that we all perceive things in different ways. So I encourage all of you to keep doing what you are doing, but at the same time think about how your actions might impact on others. I would also ask that you think carefully about the external message your actions give, in light of the club's size and visibility. We work with a wide range of external stakeholders who all have standards they expect their partners to meet. This applies at training, on the pitch and in the pub, right through to conduct at socials.
I'm incredibly proud to be the Chair of Wapping HC, I believe we are a club that does the right thing by all its members and its local community and we are recognised by our stakeholders as a club that gives back. I thank you all for your continued efforts in ensuring all our members enjoy the Wapping HC experience and in upholding the club's reputation.
If you ever want to discuss anything in this regard, don't hesitate to contact me or anyone on the Exec.
Updated 13:06 - 30 Nov 2017 by Matthew Patterson
Chairman, Wapping HC
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