Local Netball Squad Founder Wins Award

Eloise Rimmer, founder of Dunholme and Welton’s Mums’ Netball Group, won the Active Community Award at the Lincolnshire Sport & Physical Activity Awards 2022.

Organised by Active Lincolnshire, the awards are a chance to celebrate the amazing work of individuals and organisations across the county who give up their time to support others to be active. Mainly funded by Sport England, Active Lincolnshire are delivering their Uniting the Movement strategy; focusing on groups that traditionally are more likely to be inactive, such as women and girls, people living with a disability or health condition, or those from less affluent backgrounds.

The 18th edition of the Awards was held at the Engine Shed and hosted by Lincs FM Presenter John Marshall. In front of an audience of over 250 people, the inspiring stories and successes of the forty-one finalists were shared, before crowning fourteen deserving winners.

Emma Tatlow, CEO of Active Lincolnshire said: “At this year’s awards ceremony we’ve once again been impressed and inspired by the incredible stories of all our finalists and winners. It’s wonderful to see the positive impact of the amazing work that is happening across Lincolnshire, and to have a chance to recognise and say thank you to all those individuals, groups, organisations, and businesses that show such passion and dedication to keeping our county active and healthy.”

One of those winners was Eloise, who was chosen to receive the Active Community Award for her Mums’ Netball Group which was created in 2021, and has since blossomed into an all age, all gender, all ability group with players ranging from aged 55 down to aged 7. Eloise brings the community together and supports them through social activities, their Monday night training sessions and the Tuesday league matches.

“I was so happy I couldn’t believe it!” Beams Eloise. “I just think it is amazing that people do recognise how much effort people put into communities and to try and get people active, and it’s not just that, it’s the mental health side of it too.” She continues, “I say to our group that netball isn’t the main message, the main message is getting together with people and having a chat and being in a safe environment. It doesn’t matter if there’s 5 or 50 of us turning up on the day, we are still going to have a bit of fun and to me when I look at the award, I just know I have to show up for these people and bring them together – that is my purpose.”

The club have continued to progress and at the end of November, the group started their own mini league. Eloise explains that they do compete in a professional league, but that it is not the criteria that suits everyone. “We have got children and boys taking part” she explains, “and that’s not allowed in professional sport, so I don’t want too much direction in what we are doing, I want to keep it simple, fun and flowing! I don’t want to just be another netball club; we are connected like a family.” Their own mini league also takes away the stress involved in competing and doesn’t alienate those players who might have less experience as they all know each other and know it is a safe space to enjoy netball.

In the last interview with Eloise in March 2022’s issue of Townlands, she mentioned having a goal of having enough young people involved to create a junior squad; that goal has been achieved and the group’s junior squad, Welton Wildcats, made their debut in November. 

In September Eloise also hosted her own awards ceremony within the group and all members received a medal and a certificate, with the winning team receiving a shield which is displayed alongside a photograph within the social club. It is extremely important to her that all members feel recognised and appreciated, and these gestures are a way for her to show her gratitude towards the players and her dedication to the club’s ethos of being a safe space where you are cared for and matter.

Going forward, Eloise wants to continue developing their mini league and find a venue to make it all weather as she is aware during the winter months playing outside can feel particularly harsh. 

The group have a Saturday morning practice in the winter months and Monday evening practice in summer. If you would like to find out more about this netball squad, message Eloise Rimmer on Facebook.