• https://walesnetball.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/cropped-wales-netball-icon-logo-1.png

    Posted by:

    Wales Netball

  • Posted on:

    April 3, 2020

Llantwit Fardre Walking Netball Club: The Story So Far

Siân Ponting leads one of Wales’ most successful walking netball clubs, Llantwit Fardre Walking Netball Club in Rhondda Cynon Taff. Last year, she was nominated as a finalist in the UK Coaching Awards ‘Community Coach of the Year’ category for her achievements in establishing, growing and nurturing the walking netball community in her area.

With the COVID-19 outbreak putting a stop to all netball activity in Wales, those who rely on the club for both physical exercise and social interaction have been profoundly affected. Here, Siân shares her experiences in setting up the club, encouraging its growth and how she and her fellow walking netballers are there for one another during this tough period…

For many, the thought of engaging in physical activity is daunting and the idea of walking through the leisure centre door for the first time to try something new makes them feel fearful.  But what if someone was to tell you that there is a sport that absolutely anyone can take part in whatever size, shape, age, ability or fitness level you are?  That’s where walking netball stands out to many.

Llantwit Fardre Walking Netball Club will have been running for two years this coming June and are the first Welsh Netball affiliated walking netball club.  Originating as a collaboration between Welsh Netball, the sports and leisure committee of the Glamorgan Federation of Women’s Institute and Sport Rhondda Cynon Taff (Sport RCT), we have seen our numbers soar and the popularity of the sport grow tremendously.  There are now many other sessions running up and down the country, growing the numbers and now engaging many ladies in a sport that can be adapted for everyone. 

Starting with just a handful of ladies we are now running two sessions and have 70 members attending in total.  Age wise, our youngest member is in their 20’s and there are many ladies that are close to 80, proving that whatever age you may be, walking netball is for everybody.  Breaking down barriers and making sport accessible for all.  But for our club, it’s about more than just the sport itself and the physical benefits.  It’s about friendship, being part of a support network, having an identity and a sense of belonging, mental well-being and of course empowering everybody and having the chance to succeed. 

Our club started to grow particularly fast from September 2018 when I decided to open our doors not just to WI members but to the wider community too.  Being an ex-founding president of a local WI, I have always ensured to be as inclusive as possible and I am more than aware that no matter what stage in life or background, everybody at times can feel vulnerable, lonely and socially isolated so have worked hard to combat these challenges.  The first session trebled our numbers and by the January we closed our books due to being full to capacity and within a few months we had 30 on our waiting list.  With the help of Sport RCT we were able to secure another venue in order to offer a second session which is now also at capacity.

We have had so many exciting opportunities over our nearly two years.  We have been featured on both the BBC Wales and ITV Wales news, BBC Radio Wales, we delivered a walking netball masterclass at half time during a Celtic Dragons match, featured in WI Life and I was a finalist at the UK Coaching Awards 2019 in London in the Community Coach of the Year category.  Of course, there were many other opportunities for our member outside of sessions that have helped us to grow as a club.  Members regularly exercise together on weekend rambles and park runs.  We have had social events in pubs, our local rugby club and even hired a beach hut in Barry Island amongst many other opportunities.  I can’t wait to see what opportunities will be put our way in years to come!

Of course, now we find ourselves in possibly the most challenging time ever experienced for our generation as COVID-19 has hit us.  I am even more mindful that we need to be there for one another and to be able to support in whatever way we can.  We are making sure to keep in touch with members via social media platforms and by using different forms of IT.  With all sport coming to a halt we are all adapting for a new  way of life for a while and building on what we do well, looking out for one another and ensuring that nobody is socially isolated and feel supported day to day.  Trying to inspire one another in any way possible to keep our spirits raised.  We will all get through this together and come out of it even stronger. 

Welsh Netball would like to thank Siân for her write-up and wish her and all of the members of Llantwit Fardre Walking Netball Club all the best. We hope that they, along with the rest of Wales’ walking netballers can stay safe and well through the coming weeks and months.

Wales U19 Europe Netball Squad Announcement

We are delighted to reveal the Wales U19 Squad that will be competing in a Europe Netball U19 Pilot event this December. The squad features bright prospects from our National Academy Programme, led by a strong management team. The event will take place in Loughborough on the 16th and 17th December 2023 and will provide […]

Wales Netball Announce Welsh Feathers vs Ugandan She Cranes Test Series

After the reveal of the new look Welsh Feathers Squad, we are delighted to announce an international test series against Uganda in January 2024. The last time Wales faced Uganda was at the Netball World Cup in South Africa where the match finished 73-56 to the She Cranes. Before meeting at the Netball World Cup, […]

Wales Netball Chair Catherine Lewis Awarded Sport Caerphilly Lifetime Achievement Award

The annual Sport Caerphilly Sport Awards took place on Friday 10th November, and our Chair Catherine Lewis was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Catherine has been involved in netball for over 40 years and selflessly devotes over 20 hours a week to her various commitments in the sport. Her involvement in netball stretches from grassroots […]

Cost of Living Support Fund Second Application Window

Update: Due to a high volume of applications, we will be closing the application window at 5PM on Friday 17th November 2023. After a successful first application window of the Cost of Living Support Fund, we are pleased to announce the opening of the second application window!  Items such as trainers, sports bras and other […]

Wales Netball Appoints Natalie Roddy as Welsh Feathers Assistant Coach

Natalie Roddy joins Head Coach Emily Handyside as Assistant Coach for the Welsh Feathers. Roddy has vast experience in a variety of high-performance environments, including Team Bath’s Netball Super League and NPL squads, and England Netball’s Southwest Regional Academies. About her appointment, Roddy said “It’s a real honour to join Wales Netball and work with […]

November Volunteer of the Month

Wales Netballs’ Volunteer of the Month for November is awarded to an incredible coach who is committed to the development of netball in North West Wales. This is none other than Simone Gould! Despite only residing in the area for a year, Simone has had a huge impact on the provision and delivery of Netball. […]
Scroll to Top