Mitchells & Butlers, the leading operator of restaurants and pubs in the UK, has agreed a sponsorship deal to become an official partner of England and Great Britain Hockey, with Harvester becoming the organisation's official restaurant partner.
Mitchells & Butlers is seeking to encourage thousands of people to start playing sport in their local clubs and to support British athletes at the London Olympics. As part of the three year sponsorship, Mitchells & Butlers will create Hockey Houses in a number of its restaurant and pubs for the duration of the London 2012 Olympic Games. 83% of hockey clubs do not own their own clubhouse facilities and the Hockey Houses will allow supporters across the country to come together to cheer on the Great Britain hockey teams at the Games.
Harvester will support the England Hockey Board's 'Grow Your Own' initiative which aims to attract thousands of people into their local hockey club, often for the first time, to start playing regularly. With nearly 1000 hockey clubs in England, Harvester's backing will enable the England Hockey Board to increase the scope of the programme to allow more clubs to benefit from free resources and advice, as well as heighten the impact of its National Club Open Weekend, which takes place each September.
Harvester's new summer menu, which launched this month, now also includes the Great Britain Hockey logo to showcase its support.
Jonathan Cockcroft, Commercial & Membership Director at the England Hockey Board, said: "We are delighted to be working with Mitchells & Butlers and Harvester as our official partners. The relationship will not only support our current club infrastructure but help hockey engage with new audiences through an exciting period for the sport."
Alex Teasdale, National Manager Clubs & Facilities at the England Hockey Board, said: "Our hockey clubs are the lifeblood of the sport in this country. Through Mitchells & Butlers' support and the Harvester Grow Your Own programme, we will be able to help clubs to continue to grow their own players, volunteers, funding and facilities."
Erik Castenskiold, Director of Corporate Affairs at Mitchells & Butlers, said: "This is an exciting new partnership for Mitchells & Butlers, Harvester and the England Hockey Board. The next 18 months will see an increased focus on sport throughout the UK and, with more than 1600 restaurants and pubs across the UK, we believe Mitchells & Butlers is well placed to help the England Hockey Board to support grass roots hockey and encourage more people to join their local club.
"Our three year sponsorship will enable us to support British Hockey in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, as well as post the event. This represents a tremendous opportunity for our customers and our employees at a time when more and more people will be looking to get actively involved in sport."
Notes to Editors:
England Hockey Board
The England Hockey Board (EHB) is the national governing body for hockey in England. It is responsible for the governance and development of the sport in this country.
The EHB is the 'nominated country' for Great Britain. Consequently, the EHB is responsible for preparing the Great Britain hockey teams for the Olympic Games, on behalf of and with the support of the other home nations, Scotland and Wales.
For more information on Harvester Grow Your Own, visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/harvestergyo
Mitchells & Butlers
Mitchells & Butlers is the leading operator of restaurants and pubs in the UK. Its leading portfolio brands includes Harvester, Toby Carvery, Vintage Inns, Premium Country Dining Group, Crown Carveries, Sizzling Pub, Browns, Miller & Carter, Metro Professionals, All Bar One, Nicholson's, O'Neill's and Ember Inns.
Further details are available at www.mbplc.com and supporting photography can be downloaded at www.mbplc.com/imagelibrary