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Who says it’s not netball if players can’t run and jump?

Get Out Get Active Nottingham is delighted to feature in Activity Alliance’s latest campaign. The exciting campaign from the national charity is calling time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion and sport and asks – who says? The Nottingham walking netball team played a starring role in the campaign films and trailer. 

Photo of the Nottingham Walking Netball Group

Launched on 15 July, who says? gives positive evidence, resources and guidance to replace these negative ideas. The campaign films focus on six key perceptions from the charity's recent research. Each film provides upbeat insight from a mixture of disabled and non-disabled people. 

For far too long disabled people have faced misconceptions and presumptions on what is and isn’t possible, including in sport. Activity Alliance wants to move the conversations on, open people’s minds and shift out-dated views on disability. The netball team is certainly smashing stereotypes with their sessions.

A partnership between England Netball and Get Out Get Active (GOGA) brought walking netball to Nottingham. But it’s the fantastic women who take part week after week, who bring it alive. A Nottingham aim is to provide inclusive activity, which the community feels is right for them. And something they want to take ownership of.

It followed the engagement work by a community activator from Nottingham City Council. Conversations began with the Muslim Community Organisation (MCO) Centre in Sneinton. They were keen to engage more people from a range of communities. Walking netball was the perfect hook to do so.

The sessions began in April of 2018 and more than 34 women have got involved. Of these women, 15 stated having either an impairment or long-term health condition. The sessions work because of a special combination. The activity leader Ruth Pickthorn, who features in the films, has strong values for community inclusion. And and the participants, who go out of their way to welcome everyone to the session.

Each week, the session starts and ends with a cup of tea, biscuits and a natter. This makes it an immediately friendly environment that is welcoming to participants, both old and new. This reflects in the breadth of ages and abilities taking part. Women in their 50s and 80s play and laugh alongside each other. True to the GOGA principles of ‘Active Together’, there are disabled and non-disabled players.

Regular player and volunteer Asmita Nathwani, also features in the films. She is a wheelchair user and never thought she’d find herself at a walking netball sessions. She now loves her weekly trip to MCO.

Other regulars include women living with dementia and their carers. They’re included in the session with the other women’s support and encouragement. They happily make small but effective adaptations. This could be lowering the pole, to give others a chance of making that all-important goal.

Support for the session reached new heights recently. GOGA funded three women to attend an England Netball Walking Netball hosting course. Two women from the MCO Centre and one from a newly established session, in the north of the city. Now these women are trained as leaders, able to run sessions for the community. This is testament to both their ability and unfaltering passion as netballers!

Watch one of the campaign perception films featuring GOGA Nottingham 

Find out more about Asmita and GOGA's impact on her life