England Netball’s response to the latest Government announcement

Today, the Government announced its next phases of restrictions being lifted across the country, with pubs, restaurants and other attractions such as museums set to re-open from 4 July.

However, the Prime Minister’s address also made it clear that leisure facilities would not open on this date as previously expected. Our CEO, Fran Connolly, responded to the announcement.

“Whilst we are delighted to hear that many businesses will be able to re-open across the country soon, we were deeply saddened to hear that leisure facilities would not be amongst those opening their doors in July.

“Leisure centres are fundamental in the running of community netball and many other sports, they are vital for improving activity levels and the health and mental wellbeing of the nation. We are extremely worried that the longer leisure centres stay closed, the more likely it is that some of them won’t survive financially.

“As a sport that provides safe and, where needed, enclosed spaces for women to get active and enjoy netball, we know from experience that many will not feel comfortable exercising in public outdoor gyms or spaces. Many women who rely on leisure facilities to stay active through netball activity in safe and enclosed environments will suffer because of this decision.

“In recent weeks we have been working extensively with partners from across the sector to prepare detailed and phased plans for the return of some forms of indoor sport. Whilst we knew netball in its fullest form may not have been able to return we were hopeful for some form of netball activity to commence indoors. Extensive work has gone into ensuring comprehensive guidelines are ready for leisure operators and sports which will take place within these facilities, so it’s disappointing that we cannot yet implement these measures and get people active indoors again.

“With no clear timeline being given from the Government as to when they could re-open, we fear that community sport is being left behind and many leisure centres are in real danger of closing their doors for good, which will in turn put us and other sports under further financial pressure.”

Following the Government announcement, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, tweeted: “We’ve made lots of progress and I know steps businesses have taken to make their spaces and equipment safe. Subject to public health, our aspiration is to reopen gyms and leisure facilities in mid-July.”

Fran Connolly added: “Despite today’s disheartening news about leisure centres, we will continue to work closely with other governing bodies and Sport England to plan for netball’s return. Oliver Dowden’s message earlier today has given us hope though that things will change in the near future.

“Whilst we wait to hear more, we urge the Government to re-consider their positioning on this nationally, to provide a clear timeline for the eventual re-opening of leisure centres and grassroots sport more broadly, and to clearly communicate the rationale behind today’s decision so we can seek as a sector to find solutions.

“These facilities are fundamental to the health of the nation and we risk activity levels hitting an all-time low in the future without them. We are hopeful that more details will be issued on the opening of leisure centres soon!”

Today the Prime Minister also announced that where it is not possible for people to stay 2m apart, people should keep a distance of at least ‘1m plus’. This means that until further notice, we recommend that people continue to follow our latest guidance here and try to continue to remain 2m apart when taking part in outdoor netball activity to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Chivenor Netters have reunited

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

Chivenor netters based in Devon are a military wives team, which was set up by 2 wives who loved netball and wanted to meet other wives. Due to nature of lives we move around a lot, which has meant meeting many friends though our love of netball.

We caught up with Jan who said ‘With lockdown the military have still been working and some have even gone away so getting back to netball is much needed time to see our netball family. When I saw the news that we could social distance train with a group of 6, I was over the moon thinking we might get a few netters back training, I was wrong we 15 interested, ones that had been playing before covid, new ladies that have recently moved to Chivenor and some coming back after having babies, which meant training over a few nights.

We used a grass outside space, each player had there own box to train in and own ball, we warmed up, did some cardio, core workout and netball skills all working on their own. It was so nice to see each other, train and catch up all sticking to social distancing guidelines.’

We are glad that you are enjoying netball and able to do netball fitness together!

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – Lets get connected

United committee support the club with facemasks!

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

United Netball from Gloucestershire have been keeping in regular touch with each other since the very beginning of lockdown. Members of the committee have ran quiz evenings, bingo and most recently the annual club awards evening, all via Zoom. Prior to the awards evening the committee decided to send a small surprise gift to all the club members – a handmade facemask complete with embroidered club logo! A perfect way for us all to stay safe, protect ourselves and others and promote our fantastic community club!

On Tuesday 2nd June we held our annual awards night, usually consisting of an evening out, food and plenty of drinks, this year it was all a bit different! Hosted by Laura, our wonderful social secretary, we took part in a game of disco bingo and presented our award winners with their well-earned trophies, albeit virtually. The award winners will receive their trophies physically when it is safe to do so, but we celebrated the wonderful achievements the past year has presented and look forward to hitting the netball court once again when we’re given the go ahead. Next on the virtual event list is the club AGM!

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

England Netball’s response to the latest Government guidance

England Netball’s response to the latest Government guidance

On Monday 1st June, further Government guidance on social distancing and the return of outdoor sports came into effect, click here to read more. Up to six netballers from different households can now meet and take part in netball fitness sessions together in outdoor spaces, providing teammates from different households stay two metres apart at all times.

What does this mean for me?

This is a great first step towards the return of community netball. Whilst we know netballers the length and breadth of the country have been working hard on their fitness during lockdown, we know it just isn’t the same as working out alongside your teammates.

Whilst this is a positive step for community netball’s return, the Government has not yet deemed it appropriate for close contact activity to commence or for a full netball team to gather. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes at England Netball on the development of our full Return to Play plan and as part of this we will work with the Netball Family to ensure that when the time comes, we will be ready to hit the court once more.

In the latest guidance issued, it outlined that equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum and that small sided games are not permitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the sharing of equipment and balls is minimised with those outside of your household to reduce the risk of infection. There are lots of fun netball fitness activities that can be enjoyed without a netball or with each player using their own netball. If you don’t have a netball or your own equipment, Gilbert are offering 15% off selected training products, take a look here.

In preparation for meeting your fellow teammates for netball fitness activity, here is an overview of relevant Government guidance and our current recommendations:

  • Avoid meeting up in busy locations – there are a number of outdoor courts, including basketball and tennis courts, as well as parks now open
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before leaving home and again when you return, see more guidance on this here
  • Sanitize your equipment thoroughly including your ball, cones, spots, fitness mats and water bottles before and after use
  • Avoid using public transport to meet up with others
  • Avoid touching court gates, fences, benches and netball posts where possible
  • Do not make physical contact with other players
  • To ensure you follow social distancing measures, set up your fitness stations at least two metres away from people outside of your household

For further information, including guidance for coaches, check out our FAQs.

Please continue to follow the above guidance and ultimately have a great time seeing your netball friends again.

What next?

We are continuing to work with the Government and Sport England to further understand what the return of community sport looks like, and more importantly what this means for netball. We will continue to update you over the coming weeks and months on our website, via email and our social media channels.

In the next month, further sport related Government guidance is set to be announced. We are therefore aiming to share our road map for community netball’s return by late June, so you can begin to plan and prepare for your return to court.

Until that time comes, we are doing all we can to keep the Netball Family moving. In May, we launched our Virtual Netball Club (VNC) which provides members with a weekly programme of netball activity including live netball fitness activity, HIIT workouts with the Vitality Roses and exclusive sessions with netball celebs. Why not take this opportunity to try one of the VNC workouts with some of your teammates (at a distance of course)?

In the meantime, stay safe. We will be together again soon.

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

A face to face presentation night? That was so 2019!

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

During these unprecedented times, across the South West, netballers have been getting very creative to unite and connect our netball family. This week’s #letsstayconnected story is all about the end of year virtual celebrations with Somerset Club, Galmington Netball Club (GNC).

As the season came to an abrupt halt, all of those exciting plans, celebrations and recognitions, all members had been looking forward to, were no longer possible. GNC’s committee set out to host a presentation that included everyone and not only celebrated successes but ultimately, their members.

GNC prides itself on the way it interacts with all members from different areas of the club. It was important that all members were involved in their celebrations, recognition of success and those memorable moments from the season.

They reached out to their members of each team to produce a creative short video about their team, season and end of year awards.  All team members joined forces virtually to collate their videos, with some enlisting help from members of their household, pets and a familiar face from our local franchise!

Double act, Abbie Barker (Chair) and Lydia Reeves (Vice Chair) hosted the presentation in true Ant Dec style, setting out an overview of the season with each group’s individual video’s to follow.

‘Our club is more than just netball, we value every single member and wanted to highlight that. The virtual presentation was a way that allowed us to do so.

The virtual presentations created a huge cross-club interaction, allowing us to integrate seniors and juniors, where as in previous years, the presentations are separate. It is amazing how much people can be lifted by seeing familiar faces. ’ Abbie Commented.

Lydia added ‘We have been aiming to post on social media 3 times a week with ‘Managing Monday’s’, ‘Thank you Thursday’s and ‘Sponsor Saturdays’, our presentation was a way to build upon this. We wanted to ensure that everyone got their moment in the spotlight.’

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)