Posted 1st Nov 2023

Empowering the next generation as Team Bath Netball stars join St John’s Foundation for Be Inspired event

Team Bath Netball Super League stars and coaches joined forces with local charity St John’s Foundation to deliver an empowering day for young girls in the Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES) community.

The Be Inspired event at Prior Park College focused on building self-confidence and teamwork skills, as well as promoting physical and mental wellbeing.

Team Bath and Wales star Bethan Dyke speaks to pupils at the Be Inspired event. PICTURES: Charlotte Clark

St John’s, Bath’s 850-year-old charity, brought together 90 Year 6 pupils from schools they support across the local area to spend the day with Team Bath players Bethan Dyke, Lily Jones, Sophie Kelly and new additions for the 2024 season Emma Barrie, Lisa Putt and George Ford. Head Coach Asha Francis also attended along with Assistant Coach Anya Le Monnier, Netball Co-ordinator Niamh Paddock, physio Courtney Lewis and placement student Olivia Hawkins.

They delivered workshops and training sessions for the 10 and 11-year-old girls that promoted the importance of self-belief and communication whilst also improving their netball skills.

Building on the success of last year’s event, the netball day sought to highlight the importance of community collaboration in building opportunities for children in BaNES and the value that sport offers the girls’ physical and mental health.

Team Bath Franchise Director Emily Siddy, who also attended the event, said “Today has been a real success. It’s been a fantastic day, and our players have loved spending time with the girls, helping them to understand the value of staying active but also exploring other fundamental life skills with them too. Creating a lasting positive impact on our community is something that is very important to our franchise, and today was another opportunity to inspire a group of young people to be the best they can be.”

Declan Rainey, Director of Development at Prior Park, said “It’s a great honour for our school to once again be part of this inspirational day of empowering and emboldening young girls from some of the local primary schools who work with our good friends, St John’s Foundation.

“Be Inspired Day is about raising these young girls’ aspirations, making them feel special and valued and has quickly become a highlight of our outreach calendar.”

St John’s Foundation works with seven schools in the area as part of its Foundation Fund initiative. The Fund was established in 2020 to support children under 12 from underserved areas in BaNES and is working to close the attainment gap at Key Stage 2 in the region.

Their work is carried out across several strands, including helping families to access nutritious food every day, ensuring children have safe places to go outside of school hours, providing children with emotional and behavioural support, and helping them develop skills in literacy, oracy and numeracy. St John’s Foundation hopes to build confidence and level the opportunities for young people in the region.

New signing Lisa Putt was among the players taking part

David Hobdey, CEO of St John’s Foundation, said: “The Foundation Fund was set up with a very clear vision – that we would support underserved children in BaNES to become happy, healthy and educated members of our community. One of the ways we do this is by facilitating opportunities for children to be inspired and nurture their inner ambitions, as well as building the confidence to recognise their own potential so they can flourish.

“Collaboration in the community is crucial for this, and Team Bath Netball and Prior Park College have helped us create a very special day for these children two years in a row. We aspire to continue this collaboration and help build bright futures.”

Established in 1174, St John’s Foundation is the oldest charity in Bath and 11th oldest in England. The organisation is committed to significantly reducing the Key Stage 2 educational attainment gap across BaNES by 2029 through a variety of supportive measures designed specifically for its Foundation Fund. Click here to find out more.

Team Bath Netball is supported by Bath Building Society and Rengen Developments, who are both overall Team Bath Partners, and Centurion Chartered Financial PlannersFlyhawk supply Team Bath’s performance clothing and off-court apparel.

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