Sheffield coach recognised for opening up the sport of netball to everyone in the city

A Sheffield netball coach has been recognised for her work in opening up the sport to special educational needs pupils in the city.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 13:11 pm
Updated Monday, 26th August 2019, 11:14 am
Local netball coach Helen wins National Inclusion Award for her work developing 'Net4All'

Helen Thornelow was awarded the National Award for Inclusion and Diversity at the recent National Goalden Globes ceremony, held in the middle of the Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

Helen launched Net4All after her niece, who is autistic, struggled to find anywhere that provided SEN netball out of school or college. Net4All, which is a new section of Sheffield Concord Netball Club, is aimed at girls aged 11-18 with special educational needs, and is the first group of its kind in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Helen introduced the new section last December with a taster day for schools, which saw 18 Concord senior and junior coaches introduce netball to 60 SEN pupils from across the region’s mainstream and special schools.

Helen negotiated with the South Yorkshire County Netball committee to sponsor t-shirts for the participants, and England Netball provided the facility. She also gained grants from Soroptimist International for sweatshirts for the team to attend the ParaNetball National Championships, and from the Sheffield Town Trust for court hire for the 2019-20 season.

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Helen said: “I was over the moon to receive this award for Inclusion and Diversity at the Goalden Globes, and especially to have my niece, Jackie, alongside me was perfect. We have a loyal bunch of girls attending Net4All but would love to see more coming to join in the fun this coming season.”

A Net4All Taster Day for SEN school pupils will be held at EIS Sheffield on Monday September 30. Entry for this is through schools SEND departments.

Net4All restarts on October 16 at the EIS with monthly sessions for girls with special educational needs, aged 11-19. The sessions run from 6.45pm to 8pm, along with a new section for female adults with intellectual impairments from 5.45pm.