Volunteer Week: Narrabri nutty for netball

Where would netball be without volunteers?

It’s an impossible scenario to comprehend as our sport’s backbone is made up of the timeless passion and dedication of volunteers.

Which is why this week in particular – National Volunteer Week – Netball NSW wants to say THANK YOU to our amazing volunteers.  Whether you are a coach, an umpire, the canteen lady or the team bus driver … everything you do to better our sport is appreciated.

In its 25th year, National Volunteer Week is being celebrated from Monday 12 to Sunday 18 May, and Netball NSW will be celebrating by recognising just a small number of dedicated and valued volunteers in our community.

Later this week we bring you a NSWSwiftsTV interview with Technical Assistant Coach Anita Keelan about her passion outside netball, while we shine a spotlight on the volunteers behind such huge events such as State Age and State Championships.

But today we take you to a small town in the Northern Inland region – Narrabri.  With a population of just 7,300 people, you’d imagine a lot of time and resources are filtered into larger sporting codes like Rugby League and cricket.

But netball is thriving in Narrabri under the guidance of their Association Executive, led by President Anne Bennett, who recognised that being a small country town wouldn’t impact their love of the game.

“I love netball.  I’ve been involved since I was five years old and since my daughter took it up, it’s given me some encouragement to get involved again,” Bennett said.

That passion has helped drive the Narrabri Netball Association to up the ante – whether it has been hosting Accreditation Courses for coaches and umpires, holding ANZ NetSetGO workshops for their netball newcomers, or hosting Graincorp Regional State League – Northern Inland rounds at their local courts.

It’s Bennett’s first year as President and from early on recognised that netball needed a bigger profile in their community.

“I figured netball had been left behind long enough in Narrabri so thought ‘No, let’s get it out there to encourage everybody’ and so asked at our Regional meeting if we could get everything that we could just so that we could help get netball back on the map in Narrabri,” Bennett said.

One example was a recent Netball NSW School Holiday Clinic which saw 49 children sign up to have some fun while learning new skills.  The clinic saw almost half of those participants turn up the following weekend to register with the local competition.

“We’ve had a fantastic response.  The fact these kids had fun and wanted to continue shows the hard work is paying off – it’s great.  We only had 30-40 juniors; now we are up to 67 ANZ NetSetGO kids.”

Bennett is the first to admit the results the Association is seeing wouldn’t happen without hard work, and was quick to lay praise on her fellow Committee Members and others who had helped at some stage or another.

“Everyone has the same goal, which is to help Narrabri grow.  They’re all putting in 100 percent just like I am.  They’re also all parents, so they’re encouraging their kids, the schools, the other parents around – that helps get the word out about netball,” Bennett said.

“My goal is to see our numbers continue to increase.  But at the end of the day, I just want to make sure everyone has fun and wants to come back; that netball is a welcoming and fun environment.

“We have a great community feel at Narrabri – we may not have the same numbers as the city people have, but I think we’re doing pretty well so far.”

Have you got an awesome Volunteer story you think should be highlighted? Why not let the Netball NSW Media Team know about it!

Send us an email (and a few photos if you like!) to [email protected] and we will be in contact.

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