#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Pewsey Netball Club expand club in lockdown

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

Pewsey Netball Club have three teams. Currently two play in the Moonraker League based in Devizes (division 1 & 4) and our third team played regular friendlies against local clubs. We’re hoping to enter all three teams in Moonraker league when the season is able to start. As well as competitive netball we also offer social netball, through pay and play. 

As soon as lockdown hit and training stopped they started a weekly quiz. Wednesdays were still netball night for Pewsey Netball. Members took it in turns to host the quiz and rounds varied hugely, from netball to Disney to famous faces, alcohol, geography and so much more. Also playing musical bingo and scattergories. 

‘Throughout lockdown we’ve been undertaking various challenges. Firstly, it was the squat challenge which saw us doing 200 squats per day by the end. Next came the ab challenge, by the end it was a 2 minute plank, 120 sit ups, 190 crunches and 65 leg raises. That was a killer! All three of our teams have whatsapp groups so we’re regularly in contact encouraging each other. 

Then along came the Tik Tok phase which we had to join in. Members videos were collated into one, the result was brilliant. One member got so involved she accidentally broke her phone while throwing the ball to her boyfriend who was recording it! 

We are now finally able to get back on court. We started with 3 sessions of 5 players plus our wonderful coach, Trudie. Despite not being able to do drills or throw balls to each other there is so much we can do. We’ve done netball circuits, fitness and many footwork drills. Now following amended guidelines we’ve been able to increase to sessions of 5 and 6 players. The groups work at opposite ends of the court maintaining 2m distance at all times. So far the sessions have been a huge success, we’ve welcomed 4 new ladies and we now have a waiting list! We’re so looking forward to when we can all train together again.’

Thank you to Emily, Advertising & Recruitment Sec for the club, giving us an insight into how the club is keeping in contact during the pandemic.

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

Dart Netball Club

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

This week we’ve heard from a Devon club about how they have stayed connected during a time when they couldn’t get on court, and how they’re training now. With lots of top tips for those starting to think about small group sessions, have a watch of the video to hear more from chairwoman and coach of Dart Netball Club, Charlie Haigh.

Dart Netball Club, based in Torbay, quickly took to Zoom when they realised they wouldn’t be able to train. “We wanted to keep the girls as engaged as possible, and the adults too,” says Charlie, who talks through the activities with Devon Netball Development Officer, Jenny Kelly. 

“We’ve used Zoom training a lot, we’ve put together a series of activities throughout the week for different age groups. We do have a couple of coaches who are qualified personal trainers as well.”

Explaining how the girls really loved staying connected with each other, she reveals that the club even got to a point where the U16s and U14s were doing 2-3 sessions a week, of fitness and ball handling.

And wanting to ensure a balanced approach, Charlie used her experience in yoga and pilates to run some online flexibility and mobility classes too. “It was really good fun!” she says.

Now, they’ve moved onto implementing the new guidance, and have started small group sessions on a nearby field.

“I’ll be honest with you, the first week we were really nervous,” says Charlie. “But actually, as the weeks have gone by, the girls have got more comfortable and they really understand social distancing.”

Encouraging the girls to being their own netball, and using mainly crazy catches, it means they’re not sharing equipment but are still getting lots of ball handling practice. “The girls have absolutely loved it. If you give them clear guidance, it really does work.”

As well as not sharing balls, using crazy catches and sanitising equipment, Charlie also recommends doing different sessions on different evenings if possible, and try to keep them in the same training groups. “Working with the same people each week has helped parents feel more confident [about not mixing with too many people] too,” says Charlie.

“It’s worked really well and the feedback from parents has been really good. It’s also been about socialising and seeing their friends – as much as they have missed the sport, they’ve missed the social element too.”

Well done to Dart Netball Club for being so proactive! Head over to our social media channels to watch the video for the full interview and to get more top tips and ideas for returning to small session training.

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 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)

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Lanivet Panda’s netball players supporting local community

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

Lanivet Pandas from Cornwall have remained proactive during lockdown within the group and the local community.

Coach, Alec Church, quickly recognised the need to keep his players engaged and connected. “I started live streaming weekly HIIT sessions,” said Alec, a staff nurse in Bodmin Hospital. “It’s boosted morale and helping with the mental and physical wellbeing of our group. I’m well known for enjoying a bit of banter and the virtual interaction is keeping spirits high.”  

Alec’s weekly fitness sessions have attracted a following way beyond the netball community. “I’m shocked at the number of followers and replays.” he said. “We all miss our netball and these sessions help compensate in a small way. We’re not just players or members of a group but we’re friends. This bond encompasses all our Pandas, whether competitive, fun or walking netballers.”

The Pandas are also playing their part in an initiative to supply scrub bags, headbands and masks to local hospital staff and key workers. A Zoom video conferencing meeting with their new sponsor Pete Robinson of Fire Safety in Order, Roche, resulted in a community effort co-ordinated by The Pandas. “As a member of Bodmin Rotary Club, Pete is involved in helping co-ordinate and supply scrub bags to local hospitals,” explained Lanivet Netball Chairman, Kathryn Pearn. 
“He invited our girls to help and it’s surreal that our virtual meeting has ignited a domino effect. Our Pandas, and, in particular our “sewing” Strollers, turned into a production line with word spreading through our village and local community with offers of support. News of the initiative even reached Dunelm Mill at Truro who have kindly offered to donate bags, headbands and masks!”

The project took a personal turn when requests started coming in from local nurses and care workers. “Hearing from nurses and carers in our community asking for help, including some who play netball with us, turned it into a very personal project,” said Kathryn. It was a poignant moment when Panda fun player Jess Machin, a Healthcare Assistant/Activities Co-ordinator at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust collected her parcel of headbands and scrub bags.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the making of these items,” said a tearful Jess. “It’s so lovely how the community are coming together to help all us key workers and I know this caring approach has always shown up in our Panda family.”
Panda netball manager Sam Church, also a nurse added: “It’s heart-warming to see our Panda netball group and the community team up with Bodmin Rotary and support this worthwhile project. We’re grateful to Pete for giving the Pandas the opportunity to be part of it and for his sponsorship alongside The Lanivet Inn; Tregullon Holidays and Herografix.”

Lanivet netball chairman, Kathryn Pearn delivering a parcel of scrub bags to Panda sponsor, Pete Robinson of Fire Safety in Order Ltd., Roche for distribution to local hospital staff by the Rotary Club.

The Pandas also found time to take up the Toilet Roll challenge saluting NHS and Key Workers in a fun and vibrant video to the apt music “We are Family!”

And with future plans including a Panda team debut in the league this season, Kathryn and team captain Tiffany Sweet have been busy behind the scenes organising bespoke team dresses.
Kathryn concluded: “For sure The Pandas will be putting on the biggest party ever once out of lockdown. We’re renowned for our social scene but you haven’t seen anything yet!”

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

Walking Netballers battle for quiz supremacy

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

On Tuesday the 12th May, walking netball teams from across Wiltshire gathered virtually for a digital battle for quiz supremacy. Three teams entered – Chippenham Lasses, Sockballers from Marlborough and Pewsey and The Super Dupers from Corsham.

Becca Higgs from Wiltshire Council and Corsham Walking Netball participants at their launch session

Hosts, Becca Higgs from Wiltshire Council and Kerry Brooks from England Netball helped get everyone set-up to both hear the questions and also be able to confer with their teams on their answers. After a bit of technical wrangling we were good to go and it was off with the quiz!

The quiz took place over four rounds – general knowledge, netball, slogans and movie quotes with 42 points up for grabs, and at the end, the teams were only just separated, with 1 point in it, with Sockballers taking the victory, just ahead of Chippenham Lasses.

Chippenham Lasses at the WI Walking Netball Tournament last year.

Whilst the quiz was just for fun, we did ask for donations for NHS Charities if people were able, and we were able to raise an amazing £105 from the generous participants, so thanks for everyone that took part and donated for a great cause.

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 – To Rock Up and beyond…

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

Kate Jones, a player from Chippenham has a story to tell…

‘I was never a team player; I preferred the individual pursuits of running and cycling. I always felt as though I never fitted in, a round peg in a square hole. Solo endurance sports were my personal escapism. A way to block the negative thoughts associated with being ‘someone like me’.

Being transgender isn’t an easy path to tread but for me it was the right one. Post transition I set myself a number of goals, one was to break the mould and participate in a team sport coupled with the idea of making some new friends.

So after a chance discussion I discovered Rock Up Netball in Chippenham. They run a yearly quad session back to netball course. This seemed ideal but the thought of attending did fill me with a certain amount of trepidation.

For the first session I roped in a friend for moral support. Wow! It was such great fun!!! Having never played netball before I was totally clueless but I was eager to learn. Post course we formed a team and Victorious Secrets were born and they even made me captain!

The women at Rock Up have been very warm and accepting, and it is run by the legend that is Miriam Sawyer. She is a great coach and a wonderful human being.

Earlier this year I inquired about league netball and was hastily informed I would not be eligible to play because of my ‘gender status’.

I’m empathetic to the concerns natal born women have when it comes to trans participation in sport but conversely being born in a male shell does not always give you an advantage. There are women I play with who are faster, stronger, fitter and far more skilful than me. This contentious subject will continue to make headlines but it is something we need to discuss with scientific facts and a level head.

Earlier this year I decided to approach England Netball for clarification; I am lead to believe I am the first trans woman to do this. After several months and many emails later I received a confirmation of compliance letter. Marc Scott at EN has been very helpful and has even asked for my input in updating current policy on trans inclusion.

So what next for me?

I freely admit I have fallen in love with netball, it is such good fun! I particularly enjoy the camaraderie as well as the positive effects on ones mental and physically wellbeing. I’ve made the GD position my own. I thoroughly love the buzz of a timely interception and shot blocking. Victorious Secrets are currently top of our Rock Up league with one match to play.

Am I good enough to get a game for a team in a local league? Probably not at the moment but I will be and the doors to my participation are thankfully well and truly open.

I would like to thank my coach Miriam Sawyer, Marc Scott at England Netball, my Victorious Secrets team mates (you know who you are!), Amy Plumb for being my Rock Up wing woman. Finally I would like to thank the friendly and accepting women of Rock Up Netball Chippenham.’

Thank you for sharing your story Kate, looking forward to seeing you get back on the netball court.

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)