BHHHC: Making sport more inclusive

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Find out how Berkhamsted & Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club (BHHHC) is using its Charity Bank loan to save over £30,000 a year and bring in extra money.

Social Problem

League hockey can only be played on an artificial grass pitch, but most pitches are designed for football, with a rubber crumb topping that helps the ball to bounce. These are not suitable for hockey matches, meaning clubs often have to travel considerable distances to hire a suitable pitch.


Berkhamsted & Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club (BHHHC) had two grass pitches but no astro. The two closest astros were at risk of closure, meaning that the club could be faced with having nowhere to play. The club is an important local asset. Hockey is popular with both adults and children. Mixed matches are common, and children start playing league games at 13, meaning that fathers can play alongside their daughters, and mothers alongside their sons. It’s also popular with older players. The oldest player at BHHHC was 73 when he retired from the sport.


BHHHC applied for grant funding for the new astro but was unsuccessful. It managed to raise £200,000 through small member loans, and was given some small grants, but the sports club still needed more than £500,000. BHHHC’s bank refused to give the sports club a loan, but Charity Bank offered the full amount that the club needed.


BHHHC was spending £30,000 a year hiring astros. Not only is the club now saving that money, it can also hire the astro out, which gives BHHHC an extra income stream. It’s also earning more money by selling refreshments on match days. While 3G astro football pitches aren’t suitable for hockey games, BHHHC’s pitch can be used for a wide range of sports, meaning a number of other local sports clubs are able to benefit too.

“The vast majority of the money came from Charity Bank. If they hadn't given us the loan, we’d probably still be trying to fundraise. Building costs may have risen and we’d have carried on spending money on hiring other pitches. The planning condition said that we had to start building within five years, so waiting would have been risky.”

Roger Macklin, Chair at Berkhamsted & Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.