Walking Netball East Cambs

About the project

Although there were some strong netball clubs in the district, none of them offered opportunities to those coming back from injury, returning to the sport or for those older adults looking to get active.

Littleport Leisure had recently re-opened following a complete new build and were looking for some new activities. This coincided with the area being one of focus for the Let’s Get Moving programme. Data showed that Littleport had the greatest levels of inactivity in the district and that older adults were a big target group, therefore providing a need for some targeted programmes.

What changed?

We started with 5 pilot sessions in November 2017 leading up to Christmas. During this time, we saw quite limited interest although those that came gave very positive feedback. Over the Christmas break, I did a promotional campaign through posters, leaflets and social media to encourage people to kick start their New Year by giving Walking Netball a go. This campaign proved successful and by the end of January we had 10 regular attendees. By June, this had grown to 19 registered players. During the two years the club has been running, we have registered over 40 people.

The difference

Following our success in Littleport, in October 2018 I ran 4-week pilot at the Ellesmere Centre in Stetchworth, with a view to it becoming self-sustained. This has continued and has a core group of between 8 and 12 regulars with one of the group now trained to run the sessions. We have recently come together to play a friendly and will be looking to do this more in the future.

Steps taken

  • Since the start of the Littleport Allsorts, we have attracted over 40 players. Ages range from 15 to 79, with the average age being 60.
  • An additional 12 players are regulars at the Stetchworth session.
  • There is now a third club in the district run by Ely netball club.
  • Our weekly session is not just about the netball. Many friendships have been made and some of the ladies now meet at other times, often involving some activity such as a walk or a game of squash.

What the players say:

‘I am in my late 50s and spend a lot of time now looking after my grandsons whilst their mum is working so have found walking netball has given me the opportunity to get myself active again by doing a sport I have loved since I was a youngster.  It has also enabled me to get out with adults and make more friends socially which I feel is a great help mentally too.’

‘Having a great time at walking netball. We have a giggle every week. Very friendly ladies. Thank you.’

‘Well for me it was and is the best thing ever. After my husband died I felt so alone and at my lowest ever.. but joining the team has helped me to get fit. I’ve also gained the companionship of the ladies who have been so kind and friendly. This and keeping fit has also helped with my mental health…plus I love the sport!’

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