Woodside Netball Club ready to go as sport begins its return

Woodside Netball Club are delighted to be able to get back to training from September 6.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 9:20 am
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 9:24 am
Woodside Netball Cllub's adults training
Woodside Netball Cllub's adults training

England Netball last week announced they were moving to Stage 4 of the roadmap to return and now clubs can train with up to 30 people. And from September 26 they can play competition with modified rules with a socially-distanced crowd.

Woodside will return to training at Warden Park School in Cuckfield for one month and then move to Ardingly College for the winter months.

The Covid-19 lockdown has been a challenging time for everyone but for volunteer sports organisations a loss of income has meant some difficult times trying to keep the members happy and the clubs on track.

Maisie was delighted with her netball

Woodside is quite a young club and is run by mother and daughter Alison and Amy Armstrong, who have the belief that netball is a sport for all – so no matter what your ability, background or means there is a space for you at Woodside.

Alison said: “The whole ethos of Woodside is “A Club for All” and we truly do keep to their word. During lockdown we started doing some training and fun linked exercises over social media and it soon became apparent that a lot of their members did not have a netball, so a new challenge faced the club. How do we get a netball to all our members? So they started looking for funding and to their delight found the Sport England Community Emergency Fund, which ticked all the boxes.

“They applied immediately and were accepted for a grant of £2,500.

“It’s mine and my daughter’s belief that everyone deserves the chance to play netball no matter what their ability or background. This funding is just another way we can support our belief and deliver on our club’s main aim to provide netball for all. We are delighted that we are able to send a little bit of joy to all our members and get them back playing a great sport in such difficult times.

Florence receiving her netball

“It seemed Sport England could see the value of grass roots sports as well as Woodside Netball Club.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said: “As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity participation, we want the vital grassroots organisations that make sport and physical activity happen in this country to not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future.

“The £20m Community Emergency fund, made possible by National Lottery players is part of a multi-million pound package of support we are providing to ease the pressure on a huge number of the organisations who are central to the nation’s health and well-being.

As soon as the funds came in, Woodside Netball Club and Netball UK joined forces and sent a brand-new netball and pump to every member of their club.

The reaction of the members were amazing. The thanks were pouring in thick and fast. Responses included: “That has really re-lit the fire we needed to get the girls back out playing sport again”, and “OMG I really love my new netball I have already been out and played with it for an hour.”

During lockdown, Woodside Netball Club’s coaches have undergone some Covid-19 specific training.

Every member must have their own ball to bring to practice and have it sprayed with a disinfectant spray as they enter is one of the safeguards Woodside will be using; as well as checking every members temperature before they enter the court.

These are just two of the measures being put in place there is so much more and the guidance from England Netball is crucial to the safe delivery of the sport.

Alison Armstrong said: “A lot of work goes into making sure a netball session runs smoothly under normal circumstances but now a coach must be extra vigilant.”

England Netball have just been give Phase 4 clearance by the government which is in two stages: 4a is immediate which means that there can be up to 30 people at competition but the rules have changed slightly with the distance for marking changing from 3ft to 4ft to ensure distancing is safe and meets current social distancing guidelines, so this is something that is going to have to be re-taught and is going to be a very tricky one to get into people’s minds. All clubs must have a Covid-19 officer registered with England Netball and they will be put through training with England Netball.

From September 26 stage 4B will be unlocked which means that leagues and competitions will be able to recommence. Alison said: “This is exciting news and Woodside Netball Club are thrilled about it. All of the members are so frustrated at not being able to play their favourite sport as they know so many people are and are so happy that England Netball have been able to work so hard to get a clear and structured agreement with the government that allows them back on court so soon.”

She added: “The lockdown has been extremely hard on everyone; Woodside Netball Club are incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful membership that we all pull together and support each other. I have had some lovely messages over lockdown and some fantastic videos from the members doing some of the lockdown challenges we have set. I would like to thank everyone for all of them they have certainly kept my spirits up.”

Woodside Netball Club can be contacted via email on [email protected]

Woodside Netball Club you can contact them on [email protected]

Training is on a Sunday from 4:30pm – 8pm at various times depending on the age group and will either be at Warden Park School or Ardingly College depending on the time of year. We play in several leagues; our Juniors play in the West Sussex Junior League & the Sussex County League and our Seniors play in The BMW League in Brighton and The Crawley Wednesday League. We try to enter tournaments where possible and will enter the Regional Leagues if we feel it is appropriate for a specific team’s ability level and commitment.