Semester 1 2020/2021: A semester to remember!

Heather Gaunt
Tuesday 2 February 2021

Saints Netball has achieved a huge amount under such challenging circumstances this semester.  Although a semester like no other, we can reflect on some key achievements which enabled our members to safely train, play and remain connected to our club, each other and the sport we love.  We know that having regular training each week has been more important than ever, and our love for outdoor netball has been reignited!!  Read more to hear about what we have been up to . . . .

Over the summer staff and committee members were busy planning and organising the term ahead. To allow a safe return to netball, we encouraged our members to complete an online COVID safety module before the beginning of the semester, to ensure that they were up to date on the latest Sport Scotland guidelines. A total of 41 members completed this module including all members of committee. This ensured that the decisions we made were safe and in line with the latest guidance. In September, all 12 members of our committee participated in a GotConsent workshop delivered by the GotConsent Society at the university.

During fresher’s week, we had our Give It A Go (GIAG) sessions which were different to previous years, but still lots of fun for those who took part. This year we had the highest number of sign-ups with a total of 144 people attending our GIAG sessions. These sessions could not have run as smoothly as they did without the help of our fantastic volunteers. A special thank-you to those who helped to organise and run these sessions over the various days, especially to our coaches.

Despite having no trials this semester, we successfully placed all 110 of our full members into the appropriate ‘bubbles’ for training. We made 12 bubbles rather than our ‘usual’ 6 squads. A huge thank-you goes out to our 12 bubble leads who have assisted greatly this semester and without whom we could not have run as efficiently. Alongside our bubble leads, we also had our 12 COVID officers. Under current guidelines, we could not have trained without a COVID officer in place. They helped us stay safe and made sure we were sticking to our Netball Scotland guidelines on training and league days. This semester, we also adopted a new player management system, SPOND, to help us manage the number of players attending each session.

With a higher number of members, we needed help from all our wonderful coaches to deliver training sessions to our bubbles throughout the semester. A massive thank-you to those 17 coaches who committed to weekly coaching sessions and those who helped in between! The club would not have been able to function without your help and it is hugely appreciated. Special mention to our fantastic coach Lois Mackay who helped set the programme and support the coaching team throughout the term. Lois braved the elements each week and even with the stringent regulations, she ensured the players had engaging and fun sessions throughout- thank you Lois!

We were one of the few netball clubs in Scotland to organise an outdoor league where we could play the new modified game! This involved a large amount of organising from staff and club members. From informative webinars for coaches and umpires about the new rules, to our amazing vice club captains, Maia Beeson and Lauren Coull, delivering this information to all club members ready for play to begin. We had a total of 11 teams across 2 leagues. With each team, playing at least 1 game before the higher ‘Tier’ for Fife meant we had to stop playing competitive games! These games could not have gone ahead without our important umpires and scorers. A special thank-you to Emily Dow for mentoring our up-and-coming umpires. The leagues were a huge success and enjoyed by all. This highlighted that nothing would stop Saints from playing a bit of netball, not even the rain!

Social netball had 72 sign ups during fresher’s fayre. We successfully ran one session in November which involved 18 players before we sadly had to stop due to changing guidelines.

We have several members beginning their coaching qualifications this semester. We have 15 girls on track to complete their Level 1 coaching theory and 6 girls completing their Level 2 coaching qualification. We also have 7 members on track to begin their C award umpiring and 1 member completing the B award umpiring. All of the qualifications provide great opportunities for our members to enhance their netball knowledge and use these skills to give something back. We have been lucky to receive subsidies from Saints Sport and SportScotland with a total of £5,160 to fund these workforce development courses.

We have raised a total of over £2,000 for our charities and for the club! We have made a great start to our Chilly bottle sales. We raised money for ‘NHS Charities Together’ in April by collectively running 1500km in a week! We have organised yoga sessions to raise money for our chosen charity ‘Mind’. We also raised money for ‘Movember’ through our bubble challenge of running/walking 60km during the month of November. As a club, we have done an amazing job supporting each other and our charities throughout such a tough time. Special thank-you to our fundraising officer, Sophia Hudson, for organising these events and thank-you to all members for your donations to our amazing charities.

As part of our commitment to the SAMH Charter, we have organised over 20 well-being activities throughout the semester! Huge thank-you to our lovely well-being officer, Chloe Squire. Our weekly wellness challenge was a new idea which focused on how we can benefit our members’ mental health. These weekly challenges included recipe sharing, running/walking and random acts of kindness. We also have our well-being workshops coming up very soon!

Despite not being able to get our local schools involved with netball this semester, our amazing community engagement officer, Maia Beeson, has developed and created 4 netball skills videos for Active Schools to circulate online to the children in Fife. This is a huge effort from Maia to keep kids engaged in our sport and maintain relationships with our local schools.

Socials seem like a thing of the past, however, our wonderful Social Reps, Eva Grant and Sarah Millar, did an amazing job at organising an online social on Teams. We had 40 sign ups and it was a great way to socialise with members out with our training bubble!

None of these huge achievements could have happened without the support of our amazing members and committee. Everyone within the club has played a vital role in ensuring that we have made the most of our time at Saints Netball during Semester 1 despite the challenging circumstances.

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