Netball is a proud supporter of Harmony Day, which represents a great opportunity each year on March 21 to celebrate the role our sport can play in creating more connected and inclusive communities across Australia.
Netball Australia is proud of the work of the One Netball Program, as well as the programs run by our state and territory organisations to create a safe, fun and inclusive sporting environments for everyone who wants to play.
These programs are providing opportunities for players starting from a young age.
In 2013, more than ten thousand kids took part in Inclusion NetSetGO programs at almost 200 centres Australia-wide, including children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds and Indigenous communities.
Those children, aged between five and ten years old, are being introduced to the sport free-of-charge to their families thanks to funding from the Australian Sports Commission.
Among the many programs working with CALD communities run by Netball NSW, is SAIL (Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning) Xtend, which offers six one-hour sessions to encourage Western Sydney’s Sudanese refugee community to participate in netball.
Netball NSW’s Community Engagement Manager Kristy Guthrie said the physical part of the program provides an opportunity for 40 participants and volunteers to participate in netball through fun games and activities, and experience great benefits like getting fit, working as a team and getting a better understanding of the sport.
This year Netball NSW has also expanded the program’s delivery and introduced six 90-minute workshops to participants.
These workshops are targeted at girls predominately aged between 13 and 18 years old to discuss a range of topics in a fun, friendly and safe environment. The aims of the workshops are to encourage the participants to learn new skills that will assist them both on and off the court.
Guthrie said this program has been made possible due to funding from the Australian Sports Commission under the Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership Program.
“SAIL is a fantastic program that runs all year round for the Sudanese communities in the Seven Hills and Blacktown areas,” Guthrie said.
“I am thrilled to be part of the program and provide an opportunity for girls new to netball to participate in both the workshops and skills.”
Netball Victoria’s flagship community inclusion program is currently being delivered in primary schools with a strong CaLD population.
Based around introducing primary school-aged kids to the game in a fun and safe environment, the program facilitates their transition to local netball clubs in their community. Those clubs and Associations have strong involvement in school netball clinics.
“Netball Victoria supports clubs and Associations in identifying ways in which they can become more inclusive,” Netball Victoria’s Community Engagement Coordinator Cassandra Hadson said.
“Our `Netball For All’ philosophy is that all people should feel welcome in netball. A sustainable approach through training and developing our volunteers ensures that this philosophy is embedded into netball environments across the state.”
This year Netball WA is piloting a Multicultural Youth Sports Program with the aim of creating awareness for, and raising the profile of netball among CALD populations in the state.
Programs will operate in areas that have diverse populations and strong local netball Associations that can support the program and provide ongoing opportunities for those that want to continue with the sport whether as a player, volunteer, official or administrator.
Netball WA will deliver five free ScoolNet netball clinics to primary schools in each of the targeted locations. Beginning in Week Four of Term Two, a one-hour Netball 4 All Program will be held one afternoon a week and is open to anyone in those communities keen on learning how to play netball.
The efforts of Netball WA, Netball Victoria, Netball NSW and all of our state and territory members in engaging CALD communities have been recognised by the Australian Migration and Settlement Awards, with Netball Australia and its eight state and territory members nominated as a finalist in the Sports Leadership category.
The Awards will take place on Monday, 24 March at Parliament House in Canberra.
As part of Harmony Day celebrations, ANZ Championship matches in Sydney and Melbourne this Sunday will have a distinctive orange feel to show netball’s support and commitment of Harmony Day.
Players from the Melbourne Vixens, NSW Swifts, Queensland Firebirds and the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic will wear orange ribbons on their pre-game warm-up tops and will play with an orange Gilbert match ball.
Coaches, umpires, officials and commentators will also wear the ribbons and all netball fans are encouraged to deck themselves out in orange to show their support at the game.
Harmony Day – everyone is welcome, everyone belongs.