The Netball Squad That Brought Purpose During The Pandemic

Dunholme resident, Eloise Rimmer, decided that when lockdowns appeared to be a thing of the past, there was opportunity for new beginnings and started a mission to bring the community together for fun, support, and well needed socialising.

Her husband had previously started a dads’ football club, and she thought about her hobbies and decided there was no reason why she couldn’t start up a netball club – an example of how you can use your own strengths to bring togetherness at a time where it is very much still needed.

Eloise messaged every contact she could think of on Facebook and invited them all to join together in paying a small fee which will cover the cost of a netball court – in return would be a session each week full of fun and friendship at a time when people were still not always allowed to travel far, and some hadn’t returned to work yet or socialised in a long time.

Around 30 people ended up attending the first session, a lot more than Eloise expected, and thus began the birth of this netball squad. Lisette Barnes of Barnes Bikes offered to sponsor bibs, balls, whistles and first aid kits and things started to progress from there at an astonishing rate – a sister of a member was actually a qualified umpire and agreed to coach them, which resulted in their confidence growing and teams were formed to enter into a league tournament.

Since the club’s beginnings, it has quickly developed into a place for friendship, exercise and a good time, as well as a place to compete in league tournaments for those who want to. Providing spaces such as these for the local community is important so that people have a safe space to get out of the house, talk to likeminded individuals and let off some steam from the hardships of day-to-day life, especially in the current climate.

The creation of this club meant that new friendships were formed, and old friendships rekindled – both on and off the court, solidifying a support network for its members.

Although it started as a mums’ netball group, this has quickly evolved into welcoming everybody regardless of gender or age – this is simply a non-judgmental space to have fun and play some netball. There are currently enough members for 3 squads who are enrolled into the league, but you can also be non-committal and simply attend the club whenever you have time and play for fun.

Eloise has the goal in 2022 to have enough young people involved to create a junior squad, hoping that those who might not be confident at school or in other groups will find comfort in knowing that this is a safe, fun space to get active and meet friends.

If you would like to join this rapidly expanding club, message Eloise Rimmer on Facebook to be added into the Netball Squad WhatsApp group where all information and updates are posted weekly.