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)