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)