Adelaide Thunderbirds star and Australia Post One Netball ambassador Abigail Latu-Meafou stopped by the Port Lincoln Netball Association this week to present the Australia Post One Netball Community Award.
Based in regional South Australia, the association with seven affiliated clubs and 98 teams, was selected for their dedication to creating a diverse and inclusive netball environment. A two-week trial beginning in 2017 saw the introduction of the Gems program. The program started with just two games for players with vision impairment, hearing impairment, mental health conditions, intellectual disability, brain injury and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
With the support of families, mentors and the Port Lincoln community the program came to life and has seen the girls shine on the court. The hugely successful trial resulted in the program welcoming 19 players to the court in its second year.
The association aims to actively ensure that all children and their families are given the opportunity to participate in netball and be a part of their community.
The mentors play a key role across the program and with on court assistance to help guide and ensure that players are comfortable and having fun. Fun is something that is certainly not lacking amongst the Gems team, with smiles, laughs and high fives all round.
Vice President, Di Moseby described the typical Gems game as organised chaos that is just beautiful to see.
“It is high energy and high emotions for everybody involved,” she said.
“Winning an Australian Post One Netball Community Award is wonderful recognition for our netball association and we hope winning this award will encourage other sporting clubs and associations to look at similar programs in future.”