Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.
This week’s wedNEWSday takes a closer look at one of the clubs in Cornwall. Helston Netball Club originated from a successful Back to Netball (B2N) programme that was delivered by the Cornwall Netball Development Officer (NDO) in 2015. Fast forward seven years and a well-established club is in place, utilising the same venue. Many of those who attended the B2N sessions remain dedicated volunteers of the club and have played an integral part in its development.
Going into this new membership year, it’s clear that the club has grown into one of the largest inclusive clubs in Cornwall, with 130 members. With the initial focus on establishing the senior section of the club, the 2022-23 season now sees the club fielding 4 teams across the leagues and competitions on offer in Cornwall. The 2021-22 year was an exciting time for the club as their junior section had been created and they entered U12, U14 & U16 teams in the local junior league.
Over the years, the committee have been successful in securing funding to support the development of the club, including funding from Sport England. Volunteers from the club have undergone a variety of requisite training to support the growth and day to day delivery of club activity. The club’s continually developing workforce currently comprises 5 trainee umpires on the officiating pathway who are working towards either the Into Officiating or C Award qualification and 4 Level 1 coaches, 2 of which are currently working towards attaining their Level 2 coaching qualification. Add to this, 2 further club members are also hoping to start their coaching journey this membership year when more courses become available.
The club rarely stops to take a breath throughout the year and provides a mix of sessions to suit a range of ages, abilities and interests.
The club’s secretary, Rachel Jones, was even recognised in the Netball South West Lockdown Hero awards for the work the club did throughout the pandemic. “Rachel has worked nothing but a miracle for Helston Netball Club during the Pandemic. Whilst many clubs in Cornwall have folded. Rachel has been the driving force at the heart of the clubs success. Coming out of lockdown with double the amount of teams. Helston Netball Club is extremely lucky to have such a dedicated and committed Secretary…Rachel's a true advocate for Netball...Bringing joy back into many ladies who had fought the hardship of the pandemic. Rachel strives to improve herself, undertaking numerous training and coaching courses to expand her own knowledge and clubs remit…Rachel has been taking all members health & wellbeing incredibly seriously. Her coaching style boosts ladies confidence and she is always providing tips of encouragement to those who maybe struggling or require extra support.”
The club’s workforce and subsequent activity offer has recently been further bolstered with 2 members becoming trained Walking Netball Hosts too. This makes for an even more exciting start to the 2022-23 season as the club hopes to offer a new programme of Walking Netball sessions starting this autumn and is in the process of Partnering with England Netball to facilitate this.
What’s been wonderful to see is that the club’s development and outreach hasn’t stopped with its immediate locality and community. Volunteers at the club have been keen to get involved with supporting the wider netball community too through picking up voluntary roles on the County Netball Association and encouraging inclusion from the broader B2N participant community through the delivery of their own club run festivals this year. Linking with the County Netball Association, they’ve also been working to build a larger Social League in Cornwall.
When reflecting on the club’s development to date, the club’s Secretary, Rachel Jones, says “none of this could be done without the amazing ladies who volunteer their time and effort to our Club!".
Cornwall’s NDO Fern Noott, commented on how far they’ve come since she ran the B2N sessions in 2015, “I’m so proud of the club and all of the volunteers involved. They’ve worked so hard to get the club to where it’s at today and it’s clear that they’re not only dedicated to the club, but also to the wider netball community. I’m sure that there are even more exciting developments to look forward to in the not-too-distant future too and I very much looking forward to seeing this unfold!”. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).