A DENBIGH nurse who has been involved in her town's hockey club for more than three decades and took on three senior roles at the same time to stop it from folding has started a community project to bring “fun and fresh air” to families and friends.

Leah Roberts, player and now chairperson of Denbigh Ladies Hockey Club for 31 years, has already seen aspiring hockey players as young as two years old join the Hockey Project and hopes it will help the sport “remain a permanent fixture” in Denbigh.

“I am a Denbigh girl and I am passionate about my community,” the Glan Clwyd Hospital nurse said. “I’m passionate that there are activities for families to enjoy that are free, encouraging friendships and enhancing our community spirit.

“I first started playing hockey as my mum used to play for the team for many years and she was very fond of the club, taking on various roles.

“The Hockey Project is about gaining people’s interest in hockey, then when they feel more confident, signposting them toward either the junior, men’s or ladies’ teams. It will ensure that hockey in Denbigh will remain a permanent fixture.

“I do everything on a voluntary basis as I believe that giving up your time to help others can be just as valuable as financial support.”

Denbighshire Free Press:

The project's brand-new equipment funded by the Community Chest grant scheme.

Mrs Roberts, mum-of-one, played a key role at a time of crisis for Denbigh Ladies 10 years ago after its secretary and treasurer resigned due to illness, while it was struggling to afford the costs of its home pitch.

“When the secretary and treasurer both resigned, I was left with two options,” Mrs Roberts said. “Either fold the club or find a way to carry on. Our finances were dire with no money to pay for even the pitch.

“I took over the role of treasurer and secretary, as well as chairperson in a bid to keep the team functioning.”

Mrs Roberts decided the Hockey Project could boost the club’s numbers and has the backing of Tom Little, the North Wales community development officer for Hockey Wales, as well as Ladies captain Elin O’Sullivan.

The project started two weeks ago with senior members of the hockey club helping with training, which Mrs Roberts described as an “amazing success”.

“It has been an amazing success with over 25 people attending last week. Our youngest member is 2 years old!

“A number of Denbigh Ladies players from last year have also returned to assist with the training sessions and their experience is invaluable.

“We welcome any age and ability. It’s about fun, fresh air and friendship

“The benefits of this project are that it encourages exercise in a friendly environment, team building and an opportunity for parents to spend time having fun with their children.

“It was important to me that the project was free as it’s so difficult nowadays for families and individuals to afford to pay for leisure activities.”

The project has been given funding for 10 weeks until the end of the hockey season in April.

The club has recently acquired brand-new sticks, balls and mini-hurdles funded by the Community Chest grant scheme.

When asked about the project’s long-term plan, Mrs Roberts said: “I need to make sure that the project is successful first!”

Sessions take place at Denbigh Leisure Centre every Wednesday from 7.30pm-8.30pm.

For more information about the Denbigh Hockey Project visit the Facebook page by clicking here.