Across the UK, levels of participation in walking netball are growing fast, with at least 321,200 people playing netball on a fortnightly basis, which has been helped by popular and varied programmes such as Back to Netball, Walking Netball and Bee Netball.
Thanks to Sport England’s Together Fund distributed by Active Lincolnshire, working in partnership with Lincolnshire Netball and England Netball, the slower paced sport has introduced 60 ladies to the walking version of netball along the East Coast of Lincolnshire, and this number continues to grow.
The Sport England Together Fund grant has brought ladies together in a safe and supportive environment on their doorstep. The physical and mental health impacts of participation have been notable, seeing participants grow in confidence, creating friendships and reducing loneliness.
The project delivered Walking Netball taster sessions in community venues in and around Mablethorpe, which were then followed by a ten-week programme at a central accessible location. The aim was to encourage 20 people who were over the age of 45, currently living with a disability or a long-term health condition, to get involved to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Long term health condition among the participants included diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and fibromyalgia; as well as several with hearing aids and an amputee.
Taster sessions were delivered at Station Leisure Centre in Mablethorpe, Trusthorpe Village Hall, Trusthorpe and the Merdale Youth and Community Centre in Sutton-on-Sea, and two of the venues continue to host sessions.
Participants of the sessions told us the benefits they have discovered by attending:
‘’So glad I made the decision to give it a go. I always feel energised after I’ve been and we have a great laugh too. I’ve met some lovely, friendly and very funny women! My joints are feeling the benefit too.’’
‘’Don’t be nervous about just coming along to join in. You’ll be made very welcome and you’ll have loads of fun! Some days I potter around in my pyjamas till 11am. Going to walking netball makes me get up earlier, get ready and get going!’’
As the Walking Netball sessions across the East Coast continue to grow, England Netball have plans to ensure that they continues to reach as many people as possible. With the area having a high visitor population, they have often welcomed new people who are on holiday in the area to their classes, encouraging them to investigate classes back home.
Further funding has now been allocated for Walking Netball in this area to continue in 2024, and England Netball will be putting on a course in Lincolnshire to make it more accessible and sustainable. As part of the funding, two people have been upskilled and trained on how to deliver the Walking Netball sessions, and have been provided with the correct equipment.
Louise Key, England Netball Development Officer for Lincolnshire told us:
‘’I love supporting the Walking Netball members to be more active, but more importantly, the friendships formed on court and the support the group give each other are carried on away from the sessions. The belly laughs we have on the day are a tonic for anyone. Everyone should have an hour of ‘ME’ time with Walking Netball.’’
Use the search bar above or visit our Activity finder to find your nearest walking netball sessions.