Last week the London Sport Awards returned for its seventh edition, celebrating the efforts of volunteers, physical activity projects and sports organisations who have improved the lives of Londoners, not just with their physical health, but their mental and social wellbeing too.
England Netball are delighted that netball is featured in two award categories. England Netball’s partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service in the form of the Beyond the Court initiative was shortlisted for the Uniting London Award in association with Sport England Award, while young volunteer, Ziana Butt BEM, was also shortlisted for the Volunteer of the Year accolade. Congratulations to Ziana who was awarded Volunteer of the Year in a brilliant and inspirational awards ceremony at London’s historic Guildhall.
Find out more about each nominee and how they are making their mark on netball.
Ziana Butt BEM – Winner of Volunteer of the Year Award
Ziana is an England Netball Young Volunteer and Youth Sport Trust Forum representative committed to making the sport more inclusive. A visible athletic role model, and a co-author of the book Aisha’s Netball, she is breaking the stereotypes, encouraging conversation about diversity, inclusion and sport, and making all Asian youngsters more accepted.
In recognition of her incredible contributions to netball, Ziana received a British Empire Medal in the Kings New Year’s Honours, for services to netball and diversity. Within the Netball Family, Ziana also was named Young Volunteer of the Year at the ONE Awards (for which nominations are now open for 2023). Last week, Ziana was also recognised as part of the 2023 Community Sport and Recreation awards, shortlisted as Volunteer of the Year in a ceremony that took place at the home of England Rugby, Twickenham Stadium. At the event Ziana was able to chat with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, sharing a brilliant discussion on Netball whilst also networking with some other fantastic volunteers and sporting initiatives.
To add to her list of achievements, Ziana has been named 2023 London Sport Award for Volunteer of the Year.
Ziana hopes winning this accolade will further help her on-going efforts to show people sport is for everyone:
“I feel incredibly honoured to win – I felt incredibly honoured to even be in the final.
“There are so many amazing people out there who do so much incredible volunteering.
“The award isn’t just for me – it is an opportunity to continue making sport more accessible, continue making it a more inclusive environment, and continue encouraging more South Asian youngsters to take up sport.
Beyond the Court – Shortlisted for the Uniting London Award in association with Sport England
Beyond The Court is a partnership between the Metropolitan Police Service and England Netball aiming to build trust and open up conversations about youth violence with young women and girls. The project offers a series of netball and police activity days to develop practical netball skills, build confidence and create genuine connections between participants and the police.
This initiative was designed to combat the lack of sports engagement initiatives for young women and is a crucial programme looking to become an integral part of the Met’s fight against violent crime in the capital. Through Beyond the Court, the Met will be able to grow the conversations around youth violence in South London with the people most affected, build closer relationships with young women in the capital, and give the police a greater understanding of what they can be doing to support young Londoners. It is hoped that it will be the first of many initiatives bidding to help young women all over the city and beyond, and if the successes of the launch are any indication, the future looks bright for the programme!
Pioneered by Regional Officer for London and South East Lucy Goodman, Beyond the Court is entering its second year of running after a hugely successful pilot in June 2021 and continues to be supported by athletes from Netball Super League franchise London Pulse. Since its initial year, the project has now been expanded into a longer term programme promoting the fundamental values of netball both on and beyond the court – empowering participants to engage in a positive outlet, enhancing their physical and mental wellbeing, and breaking down barriers between young women and the police.