How can a sport adapt itself to embrace more people and contribute to creating a healthier nation?
Sometimes a simple tweak to the format can open the sport up to a whole new audience.
Walking netball, like walking football, has accomplished a great deal by simply removing the running element and enabling more people to take part at all levels.
One particular walking netball project, More Than A Game, is making a major impact after being earmarked as one of 17 projects to benefit from the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity fund.
A collaboration between Netball Scotland, Age Scotland and the mental health charity Breathing Space, the programme aims to provide older generations with an opportunity to be involved in team sport, improving their physical fitness as well as agility and mental strength.
How it started
The programme was launched in 2017 at Aberdeen Sports Village and is now running across Scotland. Apart from the regular sessions at clubs and hubs, teams play friendly matches and socialise after the games.
Walking netball is a great alternative for those who played the sport in school and those who never played at all. Sessions are open to all who would like to try.
Tony McLaren, national coordinator for Breathing Space, said: "All sport encourages people to be connected to others whilst enabling individuals to enjoy exercise that is beneficial to their mental health and wellbeing.
"Walking netball is very positive in that it can be a first step for people to return to exercise and a sport that they previously enjoyed.
"This is a sport that encourages connections and positive friendships whilst enabling people to develop their resilience and team-working skills, which can be refreshing for both the men and the women who participate."
The power to change lives
Chair of sportscotland, Mel Young, said: “We see time and again that sport has the power to change lives and being physically active is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health.
“At sportscotland we believe sport should enable anyone to play, regardless of age, ability or where you come from. We strive to ensure sport is at the heart of society in Scotland and makes a lasting and positive impact on people and communities."
Caroline Walker, senior regional development manager for Netball Scotland, said: “Through the Walking Netball – More Than A Game project, funded through the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity Fund, Netball Scotland has recruited three walking netball activators to facilitate sessions across our East, Grampian, and West (South) regions until June 2020.
“The project will bring people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities together to enjoy a fun, interactive, physical activity session followed by a social get-together. Walking netball is an opportunity to build new friendships and relationships as well as improving participants' physical and mental health.
“We are delighted to continue working with our partners at Age Scotland and Breathing Space to extend the reach of this powerful programme.”
Find out more
Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity is a £1m programme delivered by the Scottish Government, sportscotland, Spirit of 2012 and The Robertson Trust. Discover more
- Find the right session for you at Netball Scotland