Ruffley Steps In On Bury Hockey Club Row: 'I Have Called New Meeting To Find New Funding From Sport England'

Monday, 22 September, 2003

In the last week David Ruffley called to his Westminster office Mark Downes, Head of Major Projects at Sport England, following complaints from Bury Hockey Club that they have been badly let down by Sport England, who distribute lottery money to sports clubs.

Bury Hockey Club were told at the last minute that they would not be getting a grant for a hockey academy from Sport England.

David said: 'In my meeting with Mr Downes I expressed my grave dissatisfaction at the way Bury Hockey Club's bid for money under Sport England's 'World Class Activity' scheme had been turned down with very little explanation.

Amazingly, it turns out that this scheme will now be centring on just over 50 athletes deemed to be world class English athletic prospects. I was told that none of them would be hockey players and therefore Bury Hockey Club's bid had been rejected.

Paul Bedford of the Hockey Club said that £100,000 had been spent over several years preparing this bid. Because I share his unhappiness I demanded that Mr Downes set up a meeting in Bury St Edmunds as soon as possible so that Mrs Lesley Burns, the East of England Regional Manager, can advise myself and the Hockey Club about other Lottery money we can bid for instead of the World Class Activity monies. I will be chairing the meeting with a senior member of Bury Hockey Club to find a solution to Bury Hockey Club's problems.

If we don't get more money for Bury Hockey Club they will be eventually homeless when their current lease runs out. This is unacceptable.'