Let’s Get Moving Cambridgeshire is a Public Health funded, countywide initiative aimed at targeting inactivity. Its aim is to help support and promote existing opportunities within each district, initiate new opportunities where there is a need and to help individuals who just need that little extra support to achieve their goals. As a part of the ‘Let’s Get Moving East Cambridgeshire’ programme a walking netball club at Littleport Leisure Centre was set up. This was to target an area and a demographic that is shown to have lower levels of physical activity. The idea of walking netball is to reintroduce people to a sport that they may well have played long ago at a gentler pace. It is suitable for all ages and abilities regardless of fitness level. The intention was also to ensure there was a social element.
At the age of 77 I thought my netball days were well in the past. I had not played since 1955. Although generally fit (I will not add ‘for my age,’ I am quite fit), I am unable to run properly or jump due to a ‘dead leg’ following a badly slipped disc in 1971 which results in my right leg having no lifting power, although it does fully support my weight.
I had heard of walking netball and was delighted when I heard it was starting in Littleport – I was there the first night! From the start, I felt this was something I could do on an equal footing (pun intended!) with everyone else. I can’t run or jump – that’s fine, it’s not allowed anyway – so I was at an advantage, the others had to be reminded not to run!
I am the oldest person attending – the youngest is 15 – so age doesn’t matter at all. No-one needs to feel ‘different’ or insignificant, we are all there to play the game, but it’s not the only reason; the main thing is we have good healthy exercise, we interact with others and most important of all – WE HAVE FUN! Since starting, and in line with a diet, I have lost nearly two stone. I feel healthier, I have more energy and I am much suppler, meaning that everyday tasks such as going up stairs, or walking my dogs are so much easier.
Sophie has worked so hard with us, encouraging us from the literally two or three at first, building up to 17 last week – enough for two full teams and some subs! We now have a name ‘Littleport Allsorts’, team shirts, and are ready to take on other clubs!
So don’t sit there thinking – ‘well, I might like to but…’ come along on Wednesday evening at 7pm and try, or just watch. You will be very welcome.
If you want to get involved with our Let’s Get Moving Cambridgeshire programme then visit the website here. Signing up for the project is completely free, and the regional co-ordinators will help you to identify and access the perfect opportunity for you!