Community Award winners announced

Local champions of the Victorian netball community have been recognised, as the winners of the 2018 Netball Victoria Community Awards are announced.Winners from the eight categories will receive $500 each, whilst the WorkSafe Safety Initiative Award winners receive $2,000 each to update facilities at their netball club or association.

Netball Victoria General Manager – Member Services, People & Culture, Melinda Schoffelen congratulated all nominees.

“Each year, we are so impressed with the calibre of applications for the Netball Victoria Community Awards, and this year was no different,” said

“We’re really proud to have people in the netball community championing the values of Netball Victoria to ensure the sport remains a safe and enjoyable environment for all involved.

“We thank everyone for their nominations to help recognise those who are going above and beyond in their netball community, and we thank those nominated for their hard work and dedication to netball.”

Coaching Excellence Award – Fran Fitzsimon (Bairnsdale)
Fran Fitzsimon is a vital member of the Bairnsdale Netball Association. Her passion and devotion to the game has been seen over many years through her coaching and mentoring. Fran was the driving force behind Bairnsdale Netball Association’s Junior Squad Representative program. In 2018, Fran coached the Bairnsdale Football Netball Club 15 & Under team to a grand final and with eight players from that team invited to trial for the Eastern Zone Academy.

Contribution to Umpiring – Kaye Hollis (Warrnambool)
Kaye Hollis from the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League encourages her umpires to thrive. The league umpire mentor has guided nine umpires from the competition to obtain new badges in 2018 through her ongoing support. She was also recently awarded life membership into the league as recognition for her tireless work as an umpire, umpire mentor and sub committee member.

Inclusive Netball Community of the Year – Dandenong & District Netball Association
Dandenong & District Netball Association go above and beyond to ensure that everyone in their community can give netball a go. Dandenong & District make their netball competitions accessible to all, with pay-as-you-go options, and low membership fees. The association also provides some children in their community with second hand shoes for those who don’t have any. They also encourage women to undertake coach and umpire development, providing support through their ‘Dream Room’ to access computers that they otherwise would not have access to.

Large Association of the Year – St Albans Caroline Springs Netball Association
St Albans Caroline Springs Netball Association has grown from 10 teams at its inception to 235. The association has implemented a number of initiatives over the last few years, including a policies and procedures sub-committee, a restructure of the junior competitions and adoption of the MyNetball online system, with an 82% turnaround in participants self-registering online.

Small Association of the Year – Castlemaine & District Netball Association
Castlemaine & District Netball Association is committed to making their facilities more accessible for participants. They have recently engaged in a redevelopment of their facilities at Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve. The redeveloped facilities will have new amenities, a kiosk and storage, with an estimated completion time of December 2018.

School of the Year – Aquinas College
Aquinas College has championed the inclusion of boys in netball for the past 10 years. Through their local sporting association, Aquinas College has developed weekly competitions for boys in years nine and ten. They have also entered both boys and girls teams in the Netball Victoria Schools Championships, winning the 2018 junior boys title and runners-up in the senior boys division.

Suncorp NetSetGO Centre of the Year – Waverley Night Netball Association Inc
The Waverley Night Netball Association started their NetSetGO program with eight participants 15 years ago. It has now expanded to 133 participants in 2018. Their Suncorp NetSetGO Centre provides a space for children of all nationalities to get involved in netball, with 36 different languages spoken amongst the participants. The program also encourages past participants to stay involved, with a past participant coaching program.

WorkSafe Safety Initiative Awards – North Bendigo Football Netball Club & Barwon Heads Netball Club
North Bendigo Football Netball Club has received the WorkSafe Safety Initiative Award to assist in continuing to  upgrade facilities to include a medical space close to their netball courts so their netballers do not have to walk over the football to receive medical attention, and also a child care area for netballers with babies.
Barwon Heads Netball Club has recently upgraded many areas at their club to improve safety. They have updated two netball courts to meet the national standards, constructed new player and officials shelters and have also built a new netball pavilion.

Volunteer of the Year – Valerie Barrass (Shepparton)
Valerie Barrass has been involved with Shepparton Netball Association in many roles for 75 years. Valerie has been a player, coach, umpire and held many positions on their committee from president to treasurer. Valerie has been awarded life membership at the Shepparton Netball Association and the control box at the courts – where Valarie spends much of her day every Saturday – was unveiled as the ‘Val Barrass Control Box’ at Netball Victoria’s State Titles in October.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who does amazing work in our netball community.