Netball is one of the world’s most popular team sports among women. The fast-paced, exciting game is enjoyed by an estimated 20,000 Scottish school pupils and every Wednesday night at Bell’s Sports Centre, the Perth Ladies Netball League runs with 14 teams currently competing.
Despite having a thriving ladies league, a group of Perthshire volunteers noticed that there was a lack of opportunities for young girls to get involved in netball clubs in the region and decided to change that. The Perth and Kinross Netball Network (PKNN) aim to develop netball within the area, creating more localised clubs which will hopefully lead to an increase in participation.
There were only two netball clubs for youngsters in the area – Perth Junior Netball Club and Bridge of Earn Netball Club – which has meant that for young girls in Perthshire, opportunities to get involved or to try netball have been limited especially in the rural communities. Following help from Sports Development, Active Schools and Netball Scotland, PKNN has created seven brand new netball centres which are spread across Perthshire.
PKNN’s chairperson, Kirsty Eadie, believes that by creating more clubs at grassroots it could lead to even more women playing the sport in the future which will be healthy for those youngsters who want to go on to play the game competitively, or just for fun. There’s a high demand for more clubs to be established in the area and the aim of these centres is to provide more localised opportunities for girls to play netball.
“There are high levels of school participation but due to the fact there was only two clubs set up there were limited places for the girls to get involved. There’s a high demand for more clubs to be established in the area and the aim of these centres is to provide more localised opportunities for girls to play netball.
“We hope that this will result in a link between juniors and adults, creating a clear pathway for the girls to keep playing into adulthood. The sessions are aimed at children between P4 and P7, and will be geared towards having fun, allowing the participants to learn new skills, and for them to make new friends.
“The long term aim is to have a variety of age groups for each centre creating a path for both competitive and recreational netball players. At the end of the project, each of the seven centres will come together for a ‘Festival of Netball’. The first of our centres – Perth City South – is up and running on a Tuesday evening at Bell’s Sports Centre, and another one in the Carse of Gowrie aims to have taster sessions before Christmas. The rest of the centres will start in January 2018.”
The seven netball centres will be based in Perth City South, Perth City North, Carse of Gowrie, Blairgowrie, Kinross, Highland Perthshire and Strathearn. Kirsty singled out Sports Development’s Logan McConnachie for special praise, for helping PKNN get the centres off the ground.
“There are three organisations that have been involved in helping PKNN get this going – Sports Development, Active Schools and Netball Scotland. We have worked very closely with Logan McConnachie from Sports Development, and he has helped us to successfully apply for ‘Awards for All’ funding which has allowed us to kick-start out project. They helped us to create our constitution and plan our strategy in order to meet our objectives.”
The current Perth City South sessions at Bell’s run from 4PM – 5PM every Tuesday, and cost £3 per session.
PKNN is run by a group of volunteers dedicated to trying to develop netball within Perth and Kinross. For more information, visit their Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images in this article are from local photographer Fraser Band.
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