Head 97 kilometres east-northeast of Perth and you will come across the small town of Northam and the Wheatbelt Flames Netball Club. With a population of almost 7000, the community has come to know local woman Adele Simmons as the driving force behind netball in the region.
Simmons has been recognised with a 2018 Australia Post One Netball Community award for her thirty years of hard work and dedication to ensuring everyone in the community has access to and can enjoy playing netball. Australia Post One Netball ambassador Abigail Latu’ Meafou joined the club for their development day over the weekend and to present the award.
As head coach at Wheatbelt Flames Netball Club, Adele has provided regional development programs for players, delivered three carnivals each season and mentored coaches through workshops and clinics. Her holistic approach has seen a high number of indigenous players getting involved, as well as the addition of a men’s team into the state league.
Adele believes in the power of sport in keeping communities together, especially when times are tough. The inclusive culture of the club can be seen in the payment plans, community fundraisers and personal sponsorship to break down barriers for families and kids to participate in sport.
Abigail Latu’ Meafou said she was inspired reading the stories from all the nominations which reinforced how many unsung heroes are working tirelessly across clubs and associations in every state and territory.
“Adele’s work in creating an environment that builds confidence, a sense of community and belonging is a great example of how the passion of individuals can bring people together through netball. It’s an honour to be involved in recognising her fantastic efforts.”
Australia Post General Manager of Marketing and Community, Andrea Pearman said: “As Netball Australia’s Community and Social Inclusion Partner it is a privilege to bring these Awards to fruition each year and recognise outstanding people, like Adele, who are doing such amazing work, often in their own time, to bring people together and create inclusive, healthier communities.”
“The stories that we see each year of the wonderful diversity and inclusion work being done right across Australia reinforces the importance of these Awards, and other programs like it, in highlighting the power of sport to help communities work better for everyone. Adele’s commitment deserves to be celebrated and it serves as a great example for others to follow.”