#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Congratulations Titans!

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

Titans Netball Club in North Devon have received the ‘Coronavirus Hero Points of Light’ award from the local MP Selaine Saxby last month.

Selaine said ‘I am very pleased to announce this week’s Points of Light award winner is the Titans Netball Club.’

‘The club, based in Barnstaple, has been doing some incredible work helping keep their 200 young members engaged in training and fitness sessions during the pandemic, supporting both their mental and physical health. Many young people have found the lockdown particularly challenging with schools closing, being at home full time and unable to see their friends every day, so to have groups and clubs like Titans keeping an important part of their lives going is wonderful.’

In their nomination, the North Devon resident said:

“Throughout lockdown the coaching team at Titans, particularly Lorraine Beel and Michelle Sampson, have organised and run online training and fitness sessions for all the age groups as they were aware that having so many young adults/teen girls as members they needed to keep them engaged to support their mental as well as physical health.

Alongside the coaching sessions for the team they have run family quizzes to keep the whole Titans family involved and happy.  They even managed to secure funding from a charity to buy equipment for the girls at home and posted it out to them. They have arranged online AGM and even a virtual Presentation Evening. They have also organised online training for their coaches.

Motivating and inspiring teenage girls to train individually in all weathers is a wonderful achievement, watching the zoom sessions with over 25 training and being coached is remarkable. Lorraine and Michelle, along with the many other coaches, are a phenomenal team who have worked tirelessly supporting the members of Titans. They have done so much for the community of North Devon and I feel that they should be recognised. During a more normal time, they support and coach teams and individuals who play regionally and even train with Team Bath. They are a credit to North Devon.”

In accepting the award, Lorraine Beel, the Development Officer for the Titans said:

“You have reduced me to tears. I’m so proud of all our achievements within our Club, and especially through this pandemic.

It gives me great pride to say that we have stayed connected with all our members through these challenging times. With numbers reaching nearly 200 members, we wanted to make sure they still stayed in contact, and kept up with their fitness, as a way of staying positive and good for their mental wellbeing.

Our dedicated Coaching Team all stepped in to enable this to happen. Learning new technology tools, Coaches were able to offer Facebook Live netball fitness specific sessions from Day 1 of the Lock Down.

I live and breathe netball, and my main priority has been to see enjoyment and passion of the sport through our fabulous Club.  It gives me huge delight to see the smile on their faces, and know that with what’s going on in the world, we still have each other to support and guide us through. We are just one huge Titans family.

I look forward to the day when we can officially get back onto the netball court, and actually start playing the game again. I feel that our members will be in good stead for next season, with all their commitment in the last few months. We will be a force to be reckoned with.”

It is clear the team’s passion to support young people and their families has been inspiring and are very deserving of this recognition. It is great to see in these pictures, the team starting to come back to socially distant training this week.

Thank you to the whole coaching team at the Titans and all the members that have worked together and shown their team spirit through this difficult time. You have set a wonderful example to others in our community.

I very much look forward to meeting you on the netball court soon!’

Selaine is visiting the club today to see them in their training sessions. Over the past 6 weeks we have had around 100 members join us each Wednesday evening taking part over a 4 hour period with up to 18 socially distanced bubbles and up to 12 dedicated coaches with most taking double sessions.

Previous to this Lorraine set up zoom training sessions almost immediately as we went into lockdown – with individual age group training from U11s to seniors. Plus separate regional training for our talented U16s.

Lorraine’s dedication and hours and hours of admin and coordination on a weekly basis is phenomenal making sure that every member’s safety is the upmost priority.

Thank you for the story, Kim & Congratualtions once again!

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 Stay Connected

Gloucestershire Netball’s Covid Crew

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

Covid Officers and club reps from Gloucestershire league clubs met online with the county management group last week to discuss their roles and responsibilities now and when netball gets back on court.

Kirsty Wingate, the County Association’s Chair welcomed all and said “these are difficult times for everyone, but we need to work together to get netball on court. Until we have the answers for how netball returns to court, this forum will be a place where we can share experiences, ask questions, and help each other. Also, as the league shapes up, in line with England Netball, Government Guidelines and our own risk assessments, we will steadily explore the different roles and responsibilities, e.g. whether club, league or venues”.

Kirsty remind everyone that each club must appoint a Covid Officer, who must be attend England Netball’s online training. The Covid Officer role description may appear daunting at first but EN will help and we will support each other.

She also explained that the County Management Group have set up a Covid Squad comprising the working group leads and the new Safeguarding Officer, Karen Trueman.

Kerry Brooks, England Netball’s Development Officer for Avon and Wiltshire has been supporting Gloucestershire Netball during the pandemic, while Rachel Bussey is on furlough. She reminded everyone that we are still currently at Stage 2 on the roadmap for the return of Netball.  She went on to explain the documents that all clubs have been via the county club mailing list and from England Netball:

•             Covid Officer role description

•         Venue booking guide

•             Track & Trace protocols

•             Health Screening check

•             Personal risk assessment

•             Risk Assessment template

Some clubs had not received all the documents, so she urged everyone to check their communication preferences on their ENgage account and to check their email spam boxes, and to make sure that their Covid Officer is registered on ENgage.  She advised that for large clubs, there could be a Covid team supporting a Lead Covid officer.

Those present were able to share their recent experiences of fitness training sessions and innovative ways of managing groups of players within the restrictions and following the guidelines. Due to venues not being open some clubs had approached local businesses and supermarkets for permission to use their car parks after hours.

There were lots of questions regarding what we are allowed to do, the ratio of coaches to athletes, and some confusion over the mixed messages that had been seen on social media. Everyone was concerned about the lack of availability of local schools who were not currently opening their doors for community use. 

It was not widely known until we held this forum that some people on the call hold roles in their professional lives which meant that they could offer Covid-related advice and support to the group.

This forum will next meet when there is more information about the next stage on the roadmap.

In the meantime, the Gloucestershire Covid Crew will be connected via social media (and email for those not using social media) to ensure a rapid response to any local issues and national updates.

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)

Government gives netball the green light to progress to stage 4 of community Roadmap

England Netball is delighted to announce that the Government has given the sport the green light to accelerate its return through a modified version of the game.

This vital milestone for the sport means it will move to stage 4a of England Netball’s revised Return to Community Netball Roadmap, allowing modified training (including intra-club match play and local club friendlies) to take place from today for groups of up to 30 people per court, subject to netball organisations having the required risk mitigations in place.

From 26 September, stage 4b of the Roadmap will be unlocked, meaning leagues and competitions will be able to recommence. This window will allow planning time for league organisations and a vital window for pre-season player conditioning.

In July, the Government announced that team sports could return if governing bodies submitted an action plan that could demonstrate their ability to satisfy a risk exposure framework and put sufficient risk mitigation measures in place at every level of the community game. As part of this, sports were required to analyse the traditional versions of the game and assess the number of instances where players came within 1m, face to face for three or more seconds. These instances represented ‘increased risk’ of infection and, unsurprisingly due to the nature of netball, match analysis concluded that these types of instances were common in every level of the game.

Therefore, as part of its action plan, England Netball has increased the normal three-foot marking rule to four foot, and outlined that players will be required to position themselves a minimum of four foot away from their opposing players and teammates at the start of play, and also remove close contact idle interactions from the game.

These game changing rule amendments, coupled with comprehensive risk mitigation protocols to support social distancing on arrival and when not on court, have now been approved by the Government. An overview of all rule modifications are available on the England Netball website.

The governing body’s popular programmes based on traditional netball rules, including Back to Netball, Netball Now, Bee Netball and ParaNetball may also return in line with the modifications, as well as Pathway activity. Due to variations to traditional rules, Walking Netball and NETS can only progress to stage 3 of the Roadmap at this time, they cannot move to stage 4 until further analysis has been undertaken.

England Netball has prepared comprehensive guidance to support the safe return of community netball. Its member exclusive ‘Care Package’ is now live for every member organisation in the country and extensive resources are available to make the return to court as seamless as possible.

Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, said: “We are delighted to be taking a significant step towards seeing netball in its fullest form return. I know the Netball Family have been itching to get back on court and the time is nearly upon us. Today’s announcement means that thousands of women and girls can step back on courts and enjoy the significant physical and mental benefits the sport brings to so many.

“Behind the scenes we have been working tirelessly to analyse the standard game and considered every plausible way of getting the sport back as soon as possible, whilst protecting the essence of netball and keeping everyone safe.

“Whilst the change in marking distance sounds simple, there is still a great deal for clubs, leagues and programme deliverers to do, including speaking to venues, doing risk assessments, appointing a dedicated COVID-19 Officer and much more, but we will be here to help them every step of the way. We are also aware that some member organisations have had difficulty accessing venues or booking courts due to limited access and availability, so we do ask players to continue to be patient as we support netball organisations nationally and locally to navigate through this period.

“This is a great step in reigniting netball and is vital in helping the sport to rise again. For anyone that hasn’t yet, we encourage members to renew their 2020/21 membership now so they can help netball return bigger and stronger than before and enjoy the benefits of being on court again and being a part of the Netball Family.”

Until organisations fulfil all mandatory criteria required to move to stage 4a of England Netball’s Community Return to Play Roadmap, they must remain at stage 2, which means taking part in netball fitness activity in groups of six outdoors, whilst remaining at least 2m apart and keeping equipment sharing to a minimum.

The Vitality Roses and Vitality Netball Superleague clubs are continuing their journeys back to court through the Government’s elite sport return to training framework. All these players will be returning to the traditional full form of netball with risk mitigations in place.

Visit England Netball’s website to read more detailed guidance on the return of community netball and to see its full Roadmap.

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Saints keeping united through Lockdown

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

Saints Netball Family quickly got into Zoom mode when lockdown started to keep club unity. Jean Davies, all round Cornwall legend gave us an insight on to how the club has been keeping together during these strange time.

The club started having weekly team  S and C workout zoom session to keep all members active, alongside running a league where teams were appointed points in relation to the number of team members who joined every week. After 8 weeks, worthy winners were U14 Rockets team with our 4th Senior Team Fury a close 2nd. Jeans team, Lockdown Legends (love this name) which was made up of parents and returning players, home from university were 3rd.

When the guidance had changed and England Netball had annouced that we were at Stage 2 in the roadmap. Saints moved their netball fitness related activities outside and they were lucky enough to get the use of Truro High School outdoor courts and Astro two evenings a week, which has really benefited the club.

In accordance to the government guidelines they organised carefully arrival and departure procedures with hand sanitizer to be used on arrival and departure. The young players Yrs 5-8 were placed in training bubbles of 5 players with a young coach from our Talented Coach Development programme. They had half a court or a huge space on the Astro to train every week.

Having so much space has been amazing. The players have loved the fitness and agility sessions. Saints have started using a training App to help devise the sessions which coaches have adapted, which has worked really well. Jean said “We would normally be doing more game and ball work with the Juniors, but they’ve been doing fitness and they’ve been absolutely loving it. They’re an absolute joy, so well behaved.”

Making sure that the sessions were kept separate as the juniors left the Seniors arrived 15 minutes later in a different car park. They were placed in training bubbles and sent a training programme on a weekly basis with a different player in their group taking the lead.

It has been great to see so many players blossom as potential coaches and training outside has been a real hit, especially have been so lucky with the weather! As a club they are due back inside in September and hopefully will be able to play more netball related activities but for now we are enjoying the challenge of keeping players motivated and the Saints Family together!

It has been great to hear what clubs have been doing throughout this time. Thank you Jean for letting us know. Keep it up 🙂

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 – #RiseAgain

England Netball released a statement on Monday with the update information on the annoucement of the new membership. Please read below:

For every day that  we’ve  been kept apart from our teammates and the incredible game we all  love, we have been dreaming of the day that we can celebrate being together again.

We have now started to see the gradual return of  some community sports and are confident that  netball’s comeback is nearing. Having submitted our action plan to Government, we are simply waiting for the green light to allow us to step back out on court and play netball in some shape or form again.

Whilst we wait with bated breath, we are doing everything we can to ensure that netball regains its momentum and the success we were all enjoying before the crisis began; from gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, a home Vitality Netball World Cup, record crowds at all netball events and more women and girls stepping on court across the country than ever before!

With your help, netball will emerge stronger from this, we’re sure of it. But we can’t do it alone. As a not-for-profit membership organisation, we are extremely proud to put every penny earned back into the game, but sadly, the financial strain caused by the pandemic has placed considerable pressure on the sport we all love. There has never been a more important time for us all to rally together and collectively help netball #RiseAgain.

Join the #RiseAgain movement and pledge your support  

The #RiseAgain movement is a call for people to sign up to 2020/21 membership to help safeguard netball’s future and to enjoy a range of benefits.

We ask that where possible you pledge the full price of membership to help your sport through these uncertain times and join the #RiseAgain movement. For those who choose to pay the full membership fee between 3 August and 30 September 2020, we want to say thank you in a unique way; we will print your name on the court for the next Vitality Roses home international series to proudly show all of the names of those members who came together to help netball #RiseAgain. Terms and conditions apply.

However, we recognise that some members of our Netball Family have also suffered financial hardship this year, so for that reason, we want to offer an optional 30% discount* (payable against the national element of membership) to those who need it, to ensure everyone who wants to, can enjoy our sport. If you choose to, simply use code RISE2020 before 30 September 2020 at checkout, in the promotional code field.

If you’re an existing member, please check your email as you will have been sent a link that you can use to renew your 2020/21 membership.

If you’re not a current member and are interested in learning more, please click here.

Thank you 

We can’t thank the Netball Family enough for your continued support and patience during these difficult times. You have truly demonstrated that netball is more than just a sport. Without our members and your continued dedication and loyalty, the sport would not have achieved its recent success.

*Excludes Social & Supporting membership and all group memberships, including region, county, secondary school and college / university.  The discount is available from 3 August – 30 September 2020. The discount can only be applied at point of purchase, and cannot be applied retrospectively to members who choose to pay in full.