Common Ground on the Netball Court for Children of Every Nationality

ABC News report how Netball is helping open doors for children across diverse communities in Canberra.

Netball ACT have launched an outreach program to create new pathways for children of all backgrounds to get into sport, in particular Netball.

Throughout Australia, thousands of children across the country spend their time running around footy fields and netball courts, however for those whose parents have not grown up in Australia, playing sport is not necessarily as easy as it looks.

Netball ACT general manager Benita Bittner said ”We rolled out some multicultural training for staff and development officers to create an awareness on what backgrounds some of these kids might be coming from’.

‘We want the kids to have some sort of common ground and be able to create a sense of belonging, which is so important when you’re moved into a whole new environment’.

‘We just want the kids to feel more confident, knowing that in any of our districts they can walk into a netball centre and know they’ll feel welcome’

The multicultural program launched last week with over 100 children from the Islamic School of Canberra joining in, ranging from Kindergarten to Year 3.

(Image credit – ABC Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)

Year 1 students Dahlia and Saddan explained how they how this was their first taste of netball and they loved it! Dahlia mentioned how she had never played netball before and cannot wait to play again.

Ms Bittner explained ‘Some of the kids didn’t speak much English, so instructions were translated into Arabic’.

‘Thats where sport can be such a great leveller’

‘We asked the kids at the start of the day whether they know what netball was and about 75% of the kids didn’t’ Ms Bittner reports.

‘We really wanted to connect with kids in their environment because we found that if people had never walked into a netball centre, or any big sports ground, its very intimidating’.

‘This time around, we wanted to take our sport to the kids and create relationships and this is just the beginning’.

Netball ACT wants kids across Canberra to have access to play team sports from an early age and feel very welcome (Image Credit – ABC Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)

During this event, Netball coaches also conducted workshops with school-aged children from Canberra’s Indian community as well as its Pacific Islander community.

Netball ACT’s Matt Tanner explained ‘We just want kids from all works of life to lead a fun and active lifestyle’. ‘Netball is a sport for everybody so we’re bringing it directly to communities that otherwise might not experience it’.

To find out more about Netball ACT and what they do for the community click here.

Header image credit – ABC Canberra: Hannah Walmsley