Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles. Make sure you check out our website each week to keep up to date and if you have a great story let us know using the details below!

In January 2018, England Netball announced a national partnership with the Women’s Institute, which outlined their commitment to get WI ladies right across the country back on court through their Walking Netball programme.

The team of Netball Development Officers across the South West have been out and about building relationships and making plans with identified WIs and the first several cohorts of WIs taking court have certainly paved the way for others to follow in their footsteps – with sessions in Devon and Gloucestershire seeing over 30 ladies attend!

With taster sessions and regular sessions having taken place in nearly every county, the interest in Walking Netball amongst the South West WI’s seems to be growing (it’s estimated that nearly 200 WI members have gotten a wiggle on so far!). This week’s WedNEWSday throws the spotlight on Wellington WI in Somerset – who recently featured in their local gazette!

Having heard lots of positive feedback from other WIs in the area, Wellington WI invited newly appointed Somerset Netball Development Officer, Sammy Kemmish, to one of their regular meetings to give them an insight into the Walking Netball programme and show them what it’s all before taking court themselves at a planned taster session set for the following week (VIDEO: What is Walking Netball?)

Inspired by Sammy’s visit, 20 ladies came to the taster session which saw many of them touch a netball for the first time in over 50 years! Wellington WI committee member, Caroline Swann, said “Walking Netball is an ideal activity for our members as it offers a fun way of getting active that will suit all of our members, whatever their age/level of activity.”

“Netball is something that most of us have played before and it became apparent at the session the ladies had not forgotten how to play!   As it’s an all-inclusive activity we had a very positive response and the session went down very well – lots of laughter and reminiscing about “School Netball” – we can’t wait to get started in September!”

With demand high and the Wellington WI boasting over 80 members, the ladies have already sent several members on England Netball’s host training workshops so they can lead their own weekly sessions – which are launching this September.

England Netball have been inundated with requests from WIs to become a part of this programme, but still welcome other interested groups to make themselves aware to their local Netball Development Officer or the South West regional office to see how we can include you in the delivery plan.

Not part of a WI but still keen to give Walking Netball a go? We have lots of Walking Netball sessions open to women of all ages running right across the South West (and have more in the pipeline!) – so get in touch and get back on court!

Inspired to start your own Walking Netball group? We have Walking Netball Host training taking place in Bristol this October which will equip you with all the knowledge / tools you need to start your own session! No need to be a netball expert – we support you the whole way! Contact southwest@englandnetball.co.uk for full details.

Each week we will be updating you on a good news story from the South West as part of our new wedNEWSday articles. 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)