‘A massive blow’ Andrews calls on Islanders to lobby politicians to help find netball a home after plan falls through
JERSEY Netball Association president Linda Andrews is calling for public support to help the sport find a home, by lobbying politicians.
Andrews made her appeal at the end of Team Jets’ Premier League 3 defeat at Fort Regent on Sunday, after announcing that, despite having a backer and hopes of a purpose-built facility, that plan fell through last week. The JNA will have to leave their current home at Les Ormes in March 2020.
Andrews said: ‘We had a backer who had some land and was looking at building us a purpose-built netball facility but, unfortunately, it can’t happen [now] for a variety of reasons.
‘There is another sport on the land which we thought we would be able to share with, but they’ve got [other] ideas about what they want to do with the land.
‘It’s a massive blow. Things just hit you in your heart – we really thought it was going to happen.
‘We have had recces of places and had a plan of what it was going to look like – it was quite far down the way. But it’s not going to happen now.
‘I’m meeting Catriona [McAllister, the chief executive of Jersey Sport] today and we will look at a different approach to see if there is anything in the strategic plan to give us an opportunity to do something.
‘We haven’t seen the strategic plan yet, so I’m not sure what they’ve got in mind.
‘While we [initially] went quietly about it – because we thought we had this other option – we can’t stay quiet now. There is nowhere in Jersey at this moment in time that seems to be able to offer us what we need.
‘All the other facilities in Jersey are already taken up with sports – there are not many that lay idle on a weekly basis.
Andrews was keen to point out the huge programme netball has through the week, with double fixtures on all four courts on both Monday and Tuesday evenings for the seniors, then Wednesdays for around 100 children.
She fears everything that the JNA have worked for over the last 74 years or so could ‘go to pot’.
She added: ‘It’s not just what we do at Les Ormes –we have so many other activities taking place all over the Island.
‘We really need something that is ours, because we offer so much throughout the week.’
Andrews fears for the future without an indoor facility like Les Ormes to use, saying: ‘We must be hitting nearly 1,000 people a week who are involved in netball, week-in week-out.’
Netball has been at Les Ormes since 2010, when they moved in ‘out of the cold’ from floodlit courts at Les Quennevais and the FB Fields.
Les Ormes landlords, the Bosdet Foundation, are supporting the JNA by letting them use Les Ormes free of charge for the next two years, from last June, together with supporting the JNA with £10,000 a year for five years.