Young netballers in Nelson will soon be filling the shoes of senior players in a community ‘sneaker swap’.
The initiative is the brainchild of Garin College teacher and Nelson Netball Centre board member Sarah Rankin.
“We wanted to be really community-focused when we came out of lockdown and make netball as accessible as possible.”
She says they thought about what equipment is needed to play and not having good quality shoes was a barrier for a lot of young women.
“It can often be a reason why kids don’t want to play because they don’t have the right gear.”
To rectify this, Sarah has set up a shoe swap with hopes that it eventually becomes self-sustainable.
“I think it’s going to grow. We want it to be not just for this season but something that continues to happen.”
Sarah believes there is an abundance of spare sneakers sitting in netballers’ closets.
“Some of those senior players buy a brand-new quality pair of shoes and might only wear them for one season then they sit at home doing nothing, so why not let someone else use them?”
Sarah says she wants this type of community-based sharing to become the norm.
“We don’t want it to be a thing where they are embarrassed to do it, but hope it becomes just the way we do things here at netball.”
Nelson Netball Centre manager Jared Locke says they wanted to do more for the netball community than just reducing the playing fees for this season.
“Netball shoes can sometimes be a large cost, particularly when multiple family members all play, so why not create a campaign where we can re-use good quality shoes.”
If you have a pair of netball shoes you wish to donate you can drop them at Garin College or to Nelson Netball at Saxton Stadium.