During October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2015, Lisa Allen of the Pink Ribbon Foundation and Rachael Purchase of Pro Active Bromley, decided to approach a group of primary school parents with the idea of developing a 12 week Back to Netball training course in conjunction with the recently launched SHOOT4PINK charity initiative. The idea was simple, Racheal would provide free coaching and training skills once a week and everyone taking part would pay £2 per session which would be donated 100% to the Pink Ribbon Foundation to support the fight against breast cancer.
As a parent and Chair of the PTA Lisa decided that her daughter’s primary school would be the perfect opportunity to launch SHOOT4PINK in the local community and gather feedback as to the success of the initiative at a grass roots level. The idea also ticked all the boxes as far as Rachael was concerned, getting women back into sport and being active. It has been proven that a healthy diet and exercise can reduce the onset of breast cancer by up to one third, so encouraging parents to pick up a (net)ball and play was a win-win scenario for everyone!
NET1 (http://www.pinkribbonfoundation.org.uk/supporters-2016/net1/) kindly donated pink ribbon branded netball posts and netballs, which also benefits the children at the school and the Headmistress agreed to the courts being used every Monday morning …. and so the 12 week course started ….
The sessions were extremely well received and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the weekly netball drills and games. For many of the ladies it was the first time that they had played netball (or any team sport) since leaving school and for some (including Lisa) it was the first step towards getting fit and healthy.
As a result, the ladies continue to play every Monday morning and have now introduced Saturday morning sessions too in order to appeal to those working parents that are unable to make weekdays but who would like to join in. So the initial 12 week schedule that ended December 2015 is now a distant memory. The team is now called the Pink Ribbon Ladies and in February they played in their first Back to Netball tournament – which was a real eye opener and a little scary too if truth be told!
The plans moving forward are for the twice weekly sessions to continue with the £2 donations (subs) being donated to the Foundation to support their vital work – for one or two of the parents to take up Netball Coach training – and for the team to join the Superleague in September. They are also planning a cheque presentation to the Foundation during Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2016 -once they have reached their first year in netball!