A netball-loving woman from Sandy reckons a game-changing England Netball initiative is revolutionising the region.
Kristina Littlewood, 29, is chair of Sandy’s Galaxy Netball Club and has relished taking to the court since first discovering a Back to Netball session in 2019.
The sessions are a fun and friendly re-introduction to netball and Littlewood, who works as a genetic counsellor, has experienced their benefits first hand.
Back to Netball has been a catalyst for Galaxy’s growth and Littlewood believes the programme is blazing a trail.
Littlewood, who lives with partner Alex McCormick in Huntingdon and is one of over three million UK women who play netball each year, said: “I went to a Back to Netball session and just absolutely loved it.
“Ever since, netball has slowly taken over my life. I just enjoy it so much – I’ve definitely got hooked and in two years I’ve become a proper netball fantastic.
“It’s such an inclusive sport in general – it doesn’t matter what your ability is. It’s just a really nice way to meet new people who are similar to yourself.
“Netball opens a lot of doors, gives you the opportunity to meet new people and really push yourself in different ways. There’s a whole community that people don’t realise is there.
“We only have a small town – but the amount of teams is absolutely amazing. I think everyone feels the same – we’re so glad there are lots of other teams as it means more people to meet and lots of other matches.”
New research shows that almost nine in ten (88 per cent) members of the netball family say the sport gives them a sense of belonging, with 73 per cent reckoning it makes them feel empowered.
Littlewood grew up in Leeds before her work in genetics – in Nottingham – saw her relocate south, where she now resides with Alex and their two pugs.
And it was in Bedfordshire where she first uncovered the unique benefits of netball, with Littlewood one of the 110,000 women to have rediscovered the sport through England Netball’s Back to Netball sessions.
Galaxy still host a Back to Netball session every Tuesday evening, providing women of all ages and experience levels with the perfect opportunity to improve their fitness levels in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.
Littlewood plies her trade as a wing attack in Galaxy’s Division Three team and believes the sport will continue to sky-rocket on a firmly upwards trajectory.
“England Netball are putting so much effort in to try and get it out there to people,” added Littlewood, whose beloved Galaxy are one of 3000 netball clubs officially registered across the country.
“It’s a real credit of how far England Netball have gone to pushing it into the public eye and making people aware of it.
“No matter how old you are or what your background is, you can give as good as you’ve got in netball – nothing can stop you and I absolutely love it.”
For more information about how to get involved in participation programmes such as Walking Netball or Back to Netball, please contact your regional Netball Development Officer (NDO). There’s something for everyone no matter what your age or ability – click here to find the best contact for you: https://www.englandnetball.co.uk/support/regions/