The club, which is proudly the oldest in the Hills Netball Association, approached St Catherine’s School about the possibility of taking over running its NetSetGO program in Term 3 last year.
Secretary Melissa van der Linden said school principal Jason Mittiga and sports teacher Lukas Antoniadis were “incredibly supportive” of the move.
So van der Linden and Fiona Muehlberg spent 10 weeks holding the program for 20 pupils aged between four and seven years.
“Declining enrolments at the local school meant that we were having fewer children feed to our netball club,” van der Linden explained.
“So we decided to focus on spreading our reach to a school in the area which was not aligned with any particular netball club. This is where St Catherine’s came into the picture.
“We offered to run the programme at no cost to the school. All sessions held at the school except for the last session, where all students and parents were invited to our netball club for training and presentations.”
Not only were the children presented with their NetSetGO participant medals, each were given a Heathfield Netball Club branded scarf.
As a result of its involvement with St Catherine’s, the club has seen its junior numbers rise from 73 in eight teams last year to 94 in 11 sides in 2016.
There’s been a flow-on effect to senior level with the club adding an extra two sides this year made up predominantly of mums with children at the school.
That involvement has extended to other family members, who have got involved with the club in match day roles and fundraising activities.
The partnership with the school has gone a long way to strengthening the club’s long-term future, van der Linden believes.
“We firmly believe that happy, motivated players will be a magnet for other girls looking for a club,” van der Linden declared.
“It’s been an immediate success and we’d be looking to run the NetSetGO program for as long as the school wants us to.
“A big focus of ours in the last three years has been on really developing our juniors and quality coaching and give the girls an opportunity to go higher with their netball if they want to.”
The club is about to open registrations for its Term 3 program and she expects another 20 to 25 pupils to sign up.
The best way to find your closest ANZ NetSetGO centre is by visiting the website. You can also find out more about the NetSetGO program and the benefits it offers to children aged between five and 10.