#wedNEWSday – A Day For Celebration

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

Sunday 22nd August was a very special day indeed. Volunteers came from around the region to celebrate each other’s achievements over the past 18 months. The sun was shining, garden games were strewn across the lawn and tea and cakes adorned the tables.

Netball South West showcased each nomination in a presentation headed by Gilly Salter (England Netball Honorary Life Member and former Netball South West President) with each volunteer receiving a bespoke gift bag as a thank you for all the hard work and time that they have put into netball.

“It was fabulous to be amongst such committed netball volunteers, in beautiful surroundings whilst enjoying the sunshine! Karen and Gilly were really authentic in their thanks and recognition of the Lockdown Hero’s and SW Goalden Globe award winners. Coming together in person after so many virtual meetings was particularly rewarding. Alice tried every cake and thought they were of an exceedingly high standard.” – Sarah Clark (Dorset Netball Development Officer and winner of the Grassroots Coach Award 2020)

With so much positive feedback from the guests we can be sure to say that the event was a success, one where everyone was able to come together, celebrate, laugh and catch up with friends.

In the following weeks we will be shining the spotlight on the Lockdown Hero nominees from each county across the South West so be sure to keep an eye out for those.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to the South West Regional Coordinator (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – A Ray of Sunshine

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

Following the Lockdown Hero nominations. Netball South West are excited to be hosting a Summer Garden Party this weekend for all those nominated. The day promises to be a summery affair with garden games and afternoon tea, celebrating and recognising all the incredible things that our volunteers have been doing throughout the past 18 months to keep netball alive. One of the recurring themes among the multiple nominations was the fact that many of the volunteers had supported not only the game but the mental health and well-being of their members. In a time when having a support network has been so paramount, these volunteers’ creativity, energy and enthusiasm provided a much needed beacon of hope.

One of the questions asked to people nominating was ‘how has the nominee been a lockdown hero over the last 18 months?’ Here we were given an insight into the time and dedication of these volunteers. From organising Zoom sessions and online competitions to netball in car parks and fields, all whilst keeping on top of Covid guidance.

We are truly looking forward to shining a light on and celebrating the volunteers, and for those who are unable to attend we will be sure to raise a glass (or cup of tea) in your honour. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you do for the sport.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to the South West Regional Coordinator (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – Wellington wouldn’t miss a Wednesday!

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

A group of keen and proactive netballers have led to the start-up of two sessions in Somerset that have gone on to be some of the most popular in the South West.

Wellington, near Taunton, is the home of Mel Ayres, an enthusiastic netballer who moved to Somerset three years ago and began to play with a group of friends. After running their own sessions became unfeasible, and wanting to emerge from the Covid lockdowns in a positive way, Mel reached out to Somerset’s Netball Development Officer, Lucy Higgins, to see whether something could be set up with England Netball.

A brilliant venue at Court Fields School was booked, experienced coach Helen Brunt was soon recruited, and they were all set for two new sessions! Back to Netball (B2N) – a coached session that helps give confidence to those returning to court, and Netball Now ­– an umpired session of purely game play. Each session was open to all abilities and levels, and both quickly proved very popular! The group soon decided to embrace and take advantage of the new booking system via Engage, hiccups and all, and within 48 hours, both the Back to Netball and Netball Now sessions were fully booked.

“The take-up has been remarkable,” says Helen. “As a coach I have found the sessions to date very rewarding, as a majority of B2N have not played since school or college. They are respectful and the improvement of skills and confidence is coming on in leaps and bounds.”

Since the beginning the sessions have been well-attended and much enjoyed every Wednesday, with some of the feedback coming from the participants including “so much fun!”, “Wednesday is now my favourite day of the week!”, and “I absolutely love the sessions!”. In fact, they were so popular that within a month of the sessions starting, an additional coach was recruited, and the group are continuing into the autumn and winter months, with friendlies already organised and talk even beginning of setting up as a netball club.

“They are both superbly run by the qualified coach Helen with the perfect balance of fun and training. Everyone that attends is friendly and everyone seems to interact with each other with ease. The atmosphere is fantastic – it feels like we have really embedded a netball community within Wellington,” says Mel.

Helen agrees, “I love to see the camaraderie and the bonds forming on and off court. There’s lots of laughter and chatting,” she says. “I try to mix ladies into teams so they make new friendships and talk to others in the group. Unfortunately, one of my fortes is getting their names mixed up, which they find hilarious!”

For anyone wanting to try the sessions, Mel has this straightforward advice: “Give it a go! It is addictive and a fab way to get your exercise whilst socialising at the same time… It’s a win-win!”

To sign up to Back to Netball (Wednesdays 6pm-7pm) or Netball Now (Wednesdays 7.15pm-8.15pm) at Court Fields School, visit – https://www.englandnetball.co.uk/play-netball/find-a-session-or-club/. Please email Lucy Higgins at lucy.higgins@englandnetball.co.uk with any questions.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to the South West Regional Coordinator (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

 

 

#wedNEWSday – Diamonds really are a girl’s best friend!

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

Shirley Ransom had a passion to play netball at the highest of levels in her earlier years, playing first team for Gloucestershire. Now in her 60s, Shirley returned to play Walking Netball (WN) in Dursley (Gloucestershire) three years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

Her return reunited many of her old teammates in the town, bringing them together for giggles and wiggles, and at a variety of celebratory big birthdays, with Shirley’s famous lemon drizzle cake always in high demand!

When lockdown 1.0 began to ease and small numbers were able to meet up, Shirley organised small group walks in and around Dursley, encouraging the ladies to get out and back together. This has now become a regular meet, providing a safe space to walk and talk, helping not only with mental health and wellbeing but also giving the ladies the confidence to explore the great outdoors.

 

Whilst WN was at a standstill, collectively Shirley and her girls have walked hundreds of miles during the pandemic and, in turn, encouraged others to form small groups and do the same in their own home locations.

With WN now returning to court again – although unfortunately it won’t be in Dursley until next month – it hasn’t stop Shirley, or the others, making a surprise visit to a neighbouring Walking Netball group! Not only had they turned up to play, but they had also walked the five miles there. Now that’s what I call commitment!

 

Roll on next month when the Dursley Walking Netball Diamonds will be back together again with a slice of lemon drizzle cake!

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to the South West Regional Coordinator (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)