Manchester is the UK’s lacrosse hotbed, due in no small part to local clubs having a presence in schools across the area.
However, since the closure of the LDO programme five years ago, it has become more difficult to get coaches into schools – a lack of funding making it less appealing to both coaches and schools alike. As a result, the number of children playing lacrosse in schools has dropped, and recruiting children to local clubs has become far more difficult.
Cheadle Hulme LC has been using a self-employed coach in an attempt to replicate the success of the former LDO programme. They approached The Lacrosse Foundation with a large-scale plan to quadruple the number of children taught lacrosse each week.
The proposal was twofold: offer local schools subsidised coaching; and purchase more robust, modern equipment to make sure the children enjoy the highest quality of lacrosse from the outset.
The results have been immediate. Since January, Cheadle Hulme’s community coach, Chris Peacock, has introduced 150 new children to the sport and the club is starting to reap the rewards with youngsters joining the club ahead of the new season. Here’s what Chris had to say:
“I'm now teaching 350 children each week in schools. This is a rise of 150 children each week directly because of the funding and the new equipment I have received from The Lacrosse Foundation. Also because of the funding I've now got contracts with all the schools I'm in, until the end of the school year instead of just a term here and there.
“The sticks I have bought with the money from the Foundation are the Warrior Wrap Jr which are fantastic. The transferable skills from school lacrosse to club lacrosse is now paralleled and the children are so much better prepared when they to come and play at the club level.
“At Cheadle Hulme we now have 6 new U12's getting ready for next season and I expect at least 10 more before the summer holidays start which will give us a full team going forward into 2019/20 season.”
And here are some of the comments from the youngsters at Lane End Primary School:
“the sticks deliver a perfect, clean throw" (Liam)
"the sticks are hard-wearing - better than the old plastic ones" (Hannah)
"Mr Peacock makes each session fun, and motivates everyone" (Sam)
"Mr Peacock helped me with my aim" (Harry)