Spreading the language of netball

All this week Netball NSW is taking a moment to celebrate the variety of personalities, cultures, ages and abilities that make up our 112,000-plus strong community.

Social Inclusion Week 2013 officially started on Saturday 23 November, however today we are kick-starting our celebrations by outlining some of the work being done to introduce netball to those new to our country.

In 2013, Netball NSW conducted six-week netball programs in two Intensive English Centres in Sydney’s West, where 65 female students from various backgrounds went through the program.

The program aimed to provide female students with an opportunity to try netball, in an enjoyable and safe environment where they experience personal achievement, enhanced self-esteem, social cooperation and skill development.  It also gave participants the opportunity to build their confidence in an inclusive sporting environment, at no cost to the school or students.

Netball NSW Community Engagement Manager Kristy Guthrie says the program was a great way to introduce netball to a different audience.

“The students we met were very new to Australia and previously hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in sport, let alone know what netball was,” Guthrie said.

“The objective was not just to get the girls involved in netball, but introduce them to the benefits of engaging in a healthy lifestyle.  By taking the program to their schools, we were giving the students an opportunity to learn netball in a safe and inclusive environment.”

“The program was at a very introductory level, but it was all about having fun and exposing the girls to our sport.  Hopefully they enjoyed their first netball experience and will look to continue through their local Clubs and Associations,” Guthrie concluded.

Social Inclusion Week (SIW) is about encouraging communities to reconnect and be inclusive of all cultures, age groups, nationalities and the disadvantaged.

SIW aims to help Australians feel valued and to give people the opportunity to participate fully in society.  Conceptualised by Dr Jonathon Welch AM, the week was launched in 2009 as a way for communities to share knowledge and experience to educate and raise awareness and is supported by the Australian Federal Government.

In 2013, the theme will again be Collaborate, Connect and Celebrate! – a strong call to action to encourage people of all ages to join together and engage with the objectives of the week by hosting or attending a social inclusion focused event.

In addition to the grass-roots, community created events called ‘National Street Parties’, there will be a number of national events and activities to engage and celebrated during the Week.

Netball NSW is also getting into the spirit by holding a competition!

We are asking those in our community to send in their Social Inclusion stories and images, or nominate someone you know who goes out of their way to include all walks of life, that best reflects the Collaborate, Connect and Celebrate! theme.  Our favourite three entries will receive a NSW Swifts Thank You Pack, so make sure you include your contact details in your submission!

So send your best Social Inclusions entries tonetballnsw@netballnsw.com by 5pm this Friday 29 November for your chance to win!

For more information on Social Inclusion Week 2013, please visit their website: www.socialinclusionweek.com.au