National ONE Awards: Meet our Regional Nominees

As we look forward to the National ONE Awards held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens this Saturday (5th November), here is a bit about our 10 regional winners and why they have been nominated for a national award.

CLUB OF THE YEAR: STAFFORD WALKING NETBALL
Since being established in 2018 by their coach Laura, SWN expanded from 14 players to over 50 players by 2022 despite lockdown. They kept their members involved during covid by sewing scrubs for local hospitals, zoom quizzes, and fitness challenges when they couldn’t play netball. They have established a thriving club committee, go on weekly walks and occasionally days out and trips, started a book club, as well as hosting WN festivals and tournament. Through their various events and initiatives, they have raised over £4000 for charity at the time of the regional ONE awards but have gone on to raise more since.

COACH OF THE YEAR (ADULTS): ANNA ROBERTSON
Anna has gone out of her way to bring netball back into the community, working tirelessly building teams and helping to improve netball skills in the players. She always has time for everyone around her and the Hereford league wouldn’t be there without her. In her own time she develops teams and games and encourages everyone so much. Nothing is too much trouble. The nominator described her as the back bone of netball in Herefordshire.

COACH OF THE YEAR (CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE): AMIE BLAKE
Amie has been coaching juniors for many year now and the dedication and time she spends not only with the girls at Ryland netball club but those in the county set up and at other neighbouring clubs is admirable. She has an amazing relationship with the parents and players and is always at the end of the phone for anyone who needs her. She encourages, develops, installs confidence whilst also instilling the importance of teamwork and improved performance – always encouraging players to strive for better and work towards next level. This drive led her team to qualify for nationals. She also has a role on Worcester county committee based around creating opportunity for young players and last year she supporting the set up of the CINL to give more girls playing opportunities within the Worcestershire area.

SHEELAGH REDPATH COMMUNITY OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR: HANNAH REED
Hannah has been the lead County Umpiring secretary for Birmingham for 5 years and in that time has helped to transform officiating in Birmingham. She has improved the clarity and understanding of the pathway to new umpires and ensures they are supported as they work through the awards. Hannah has also been part of the Officiating transformation project supporting EN with the new online courses and has provided feedback. Hannah has introduced new umpire awards (Umpire of the Year and Umpires umpire) so that Umpires can be recognised for their efforts in the county also. Hannah has supported over 90 Intos, 30 new C awards, 3 B awards, and even 1 A award as well as working toward the A award herself.

MARY BULLOCH COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: CARLA LLOYD
Carla has worked tirelessly over the last 5 years to voluntarily run our County rounds of our clubs competition to the highest standard. Carla organises this all herself with the support of her husband. She organises the facility and liases with Linden to establish a timetable that works around both the county and Linden’s home Prem matches. Carla organises schedules of play and oraganises the umpires, even encouraging those new ‘Into’s and developing C awards to experience a regional format of umpiring. Her ideas and thoughts are welcomed and valued and she always looks for ways to improve the County Club competition experience. In a nutshell, we would be lost without her. Carla also does a wonderful job in recruiting parents to help time and score the matches!

MURIEL MCNALLY COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: JUDITH FROST
Jude’s drive and enthusiasm is unparalleled, she is so passionate about raising the Shropshire Netball profile. She has led and taken responsibility for many successful events and leagues, including single handedly taking over the running of the summer league for over 40 teams which would have otherwise folded and was instrumental in initiating the new U12 academy. Not only this but she continues to score and mentor umpires. Her wide spread knowledge of the County/ Regional structure enables her to signpost volunteers to an area suitable to their strengths and interests. Being in a rural County it is tricky to reach out to new participants. Jude is especially good at encouraging young players to volunteer and enjoy helping out at events, she chats to them ensures they are looked after and that they have a positive experience.

UNSUNG HERO: JANET HILLIER
Jan does so much amazing work for netball throughout Worcestershire and even further, giving hundreds of players opportunities within netball. She started at Ryland about 8/9 years ago as the club treasurer, and since then has taken on the whole club including getting it running any way possible after covid. She works so hard to allow so many people of all ages and abilities to play for the club by organising training sessions, games, tournaments! Even organising a tour to play the Gibraltar national team, a once in a lifetime opportunity for the players. She has been the main factor in introducing mixed netball as well as so many new sessions into the club, which now has a thriving development section alongside the elite element. Ryland has over 200 players and none of them would be playing the sport we love without Jan. On top of that, she has taken on wasps u19 team manager this year who finished second in the NPL.

TEACHER AWARD: SAMANTHA EVANS
Sam is hardworking and dedicated, and is always striving to promote opportunities to the young people she works with (Shaw Hill Primary School). Sam runs the school netball club and has done for several years despite many challenges at the school. She belongs to Sparkhill NC, but due to a health issue, Sam had to have major hip surgery at the age of 25 which will prevent her from playing netball for some time, and possibly forever. Even though Sam was incapacitated after surgery that didn’t stop her and she joined the BNA Commonwealth Games steering group which to date has run one Roadshow event and ran several schools events during the summer – and of course Sam’s school are took part! Sam is also co-ordinated a learning resource for the Commonwealth Games for students.

YOUNG VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: ELLIE WALSH
Ellie helped get her club off the ground, taking on club membership and driving recruitment to build the club from 15 members to over 100 in just a year. Ellie completed her level one coaching and assist coaches, giving her time freely 4 hours a week. Ellie is also an umpire and is working towards her C, and at training Ellie mentors some of the older juniors to get them started with their umpiring journey which is such a positive influence for them. Ellie actively encourages the older juniors to come and help out with the younger age groups, helping them to be more involved sharing their skills with the young ones and building confidence to start umpiring and coaching. Ellie has even reached out to our local council to explore how we can gain funding to sponsor players to join the club and have their fees paid for them for the year this initiative is to assist in giving opportunities to everyone to enjoy and participate in netball, which continues to grow the sport in her community and should be an inspiration to many.

INCLUSION AWARD: SPORTSKEY
Sports Key have created an open-door policy where women who are typically categorised as “Black Asian and Minority Ethnic” (BAME) can feel welcomed and part of a community rather than a minority, and is also why SportsKey are encouraging the use of ”Global Majority” in place of BAME as we move forward demonstrating more empowering language to promote inclusion. One of the unique attributes of the programme, is the intergenerational engagement which has bridged young people with an age range from 16 years to 60+, providing a great balance of energy, experience, and high spirit amongst the group. The Back to Netball sessions implemented through SportsKey were in such demand that an extra session was added each week. Sports Key have also linked in with Sport Birmingham, who have supported the programme through funding and without their support, it would be more challenging to offer low-cost sessions. They have also linked in with the Commonwealth Games through the GEN22 programme, which has provided opportunities for young people to become upskilled in the lead up to the games.