What is THD Pheonix? Founder and Head Coach Rémy Oliver tells us more...

Q&A with Phoenix Founder and Head Coach Rémy Oliver plus some insights from the kids in the program!

What is THD Phoenix?

THD Phoenix launched in the autumn of 2022 and aligns with England Hockey’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) framework. We run it in partnership with Dulwich College, without this support the project just wouldn't be possible, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Dulwich College and Jenny Stanley for their continued support with THD Phoenix.  

The program is based in South London and over the past two years has been introducing free field hockey to over 55 primary-aged children from seven local state schools, who have not had the opportunity to play hockey and experience the benefits of participating in a sport can provide. The schools involved are; George’s CE Primary School (Lewisham), Fenstanton Primary School (Gypsy Hill Federation), Holy Trinity Primary School (Brixton), Holy Trinity Primary School (Sydenham), Elm Wood Primary School (Lambeth), Jubilee Primary School (Lambeth) and Dulwich Wood Primary School (Southwark).

THD Phoenix provides free hockey sessions in a safe and welcoming environment. The sessions are built around fun and enjoyment while teaching hockey skills and nurturing sporting ability. In Year 4, children are invited to attend an introductory session which is followed by selection into the player pathway. The THD Phoenix pathway is a two-year program which starts at the start of the school term in Year 5, this continues into Year 6. Following the second year, the children are supported and transitioned into THD Hockey Club’s U12 Junior teams.

How is Dulwich College involved?

The College supports the programme by providing facilities, equipment, coaching staff and full administrative support. The College also fund-raised £2,000 to cover additional coaching costs and to purchase new protective equipment for every pupil. Big thank you to Jenny Stanley and her team for their support over the past few years. 

Why did you set this program up?

Hockey has a problem with diversity and inclusivity, both in terms of race and socio-economic background. I was lucky in that my parents met playing hockey; that is how I got into the game. However, attending state schools, I played no hockey at all in Primary School and at Secondary, hockey, when it was done at all, was a violent game on a sloping concrete playground with sticks worn down and splintered, chasing a ball (often not even a hockey ball) all being overseen by a PE teacher that had no interest or knowledge of the sport. There is so much potential in these schools, Phoenix can help unlock and access that. We hope to provide a life-long interest and connection with sport, leading to healthier lives and providing some excellent hockey players!

How can Phoenix impact the community?

Phoenix also has a wider role than simply hockey. The first time I met anyone from a private school was at university. It was daunting. Our community is diverse, ranging from extreme privilege to extreme poverty - as indicated by the range of schools available. Our community is divided, and opportunities for positive engagement are limited so it is unsurprising there is a lack of understanding and empathy between people. Phoenix Hockey aims to close the chasm between the opportunities available to different members of our community and provide common ground for meaningful and lasting friendships and understanding. We do this by providing hockey sessions and a route into Tulse Hill & Dulwich Hockey Club for children and families that would otherwise face serious barriers to accessing these types of opportunities.

It is a joy to see the children develop both socially and as hockey players as they make new friendships and learn new skills that they can use later in life. Tulse Hill and Dulwich Junior members, who are predominantly from local private schools, also benefit from engaging with their wider community in a positive and meaningful way, building relationships and understanding that will help our community support and engage with each other in the future.

What are your goals with Phoenix?

The ultimate goal is to provide a pathway into THD Hockey Club (and beyond), providing community and financial support, where needed. The club aims to inspire children in the community to play sports throughout childhood and into later life. During the summer term, the coaches will go into local schools and introduce the program to the next cohort.

What funding has there been? 

THD Phoenix has been fortunate to receive funding from Tulse Hill & Dulwich Hockey Club, Dulwich College, London Hockey and The HMCK Charity

Over to the kids...

Why do you like the sessions?

Imani-Rae: “I love how brave and confident I have become playing hockey. I enjoy playing and look forward to our training sessions each week. The coaches use really fun ways to teach us the different moves and techniques. If I keep improving, I might get to play hockey at the Olympics!” 

Cass: “I like learning all the cool tricks like lifting. All the coaches are kind and enthusiastic and we play matches at the end of the sessions, which are really fun. I love being part of Phoenix Hockey Cub” -

Rocco: “The sessions are a fun way to develop and build my hockey skills. All the coaches are really nice so I look forward to it every week.” 

THD Phoenix