London Sport Awards 2021 nominees: The Elite Sport in the Community Award - London Pulse Netball Club
LONDON Pulse will be targeting a strong start to next season’s Vitality Netball Superleague in February but, before that, have an exciting London Sport Award nomination to celebrate.
The club has been nominated for London Sport’s Elite Sport in the Community Award, in association with the Mayor of London, for the work it undertakes encouraging visually impaired people to try the sport and be active.
Performance Pathway Manager Rowena Scott-Fairclough is one of those involved in running the classes, which take place at Score Leisure Centre in Leyton.
Scott-Fairclough, 38, says the nomination is ideal recognition for the hard work that’s gone into running the sessions.
She said: “It’s a massive accomplishment for us as a franchise and for myself as well, for all the hard work that goes on in terms of providing the opportunity for these visually impaired projects.
“It means that the work that we’re doing and where we want to expand within the community is actually being acknowledged. We want to provide netball for everybody and being visually impaired and those with disabilities, we want them to enjoy the game that we enjoy as well.
“With any sort of disability and impairment, it’s making sure that you are still valued and that you are still part of a community. Sport and exercise are relevant for everybody and there needs to be more opportunities for people out there who suffer with these impairments.
“I think we’ve seen throughout lockdown that by not having opportunities, it can play a massive part on people’s mental health and physical wellbeing. Not having those opportunities can be detrimental to anybody’s health.
“By opening doors and showing that you can be part of something, you can still be in a performance environment or a social environment.
“It needs to be something for everybody. Netball is enjoyed by both men and women, boys and girls and the fact that we’re able to do this is tremendous.”
Over the last five years, the annual London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, has grown to become the biggest celebration of grassroots and community physical activity and sport in the city.
And this year’s showpiece event will once again recognise, celebrate, and shine a light on the stories of the incredible individuals, groups, and organisations for their outstanding work across the capital, helping Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.
Ashrafia Choudhury is visually impaired and is chair of a charity that supports people with limited eyesight, and learnt about the classes in a newsletter.
And the 48-year-old said: “I really like coming here. You get to meet new people and people who enjoy the sport. It really does take me back to when I was in primary school. I’ve tried many sports and this definitely is for me!
“For a long time there weren't sports that were adaptable for visually impaired people and now they are adapted, so we can just get engaged like any other person.
"It definitely gives me the motivation to come here and I feel like I’m on an even platform. Before, I did do sport with other sighted people but I felt that they didn’t understand about my sight loss.
“It’s something I look forward to. When I get here, I feel really good and it feels like I’ve achieved something.”