Celebrating Diversity

England Netball’s newest board member Jennifer Thomas is one of the founding members of Black Inclusion Week. Lucy Goodman recently interviewed Jennifer about this initiative and the work she has been supporting England Netball with to improve inclusion in our sport. Watch the video above to hear more from Jennifer.

Since Black History Month in October 2020, we have been speaking to some of netball’s prominent Black representatives about their experiences with the sport. Read and listen to their stories below.

Melissa Wright – Coach

Melissa Wright is a coach for Starz Netball Club. She is also Middlesex County Netball Treasurer and Chair of the Middlesex Association ED&I  Group.

You can watch the full video here.



Kandis Nelson – PE Teacher

Kandis Nelson is a PE teacher and coach. She plays for Academy Netball Club and has also coached in the England Netball Pathway.

You can watch the full video here.

Halimat Adio of the Vitality Roses.
Halimat Adio – Roses Future

Halimat Adio of the Roses Futures has three senior caps to her name after competing in Netball Europe in 2019. She has been a Future for two years now and excels as goal keeper for London Pulse in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

She spoke about how ‘inclusive’ netball is as a sport and what Black History Month means to her. Watch the full video here.

Jodie Gibson – Vitality Rose

Jodie Gibson has been part of the Vitality Roses set up for years now and has 25 caps for her country. She won the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and has been a strong presence in the Vitality Netball Superleague since her debut. During Black History Month, she spoke about her beginnings in netball and her journey to becoming a professional athlete. Watch the full video here.

Janet Hills – Head Coach

Janet Hills is Head Coach of Swanley Netball Club and also become the first female Chair of the Met Black Police Association (MetBPA). During Black History Month, she spoke about how netball is ‘inclusive to all … regardless of a person’s creed or colour’. You can watch the full video here.

Jean Hornsby – First Black netball player to represent England

Jean Hornsby started playing netball at school and soon became captain of the England U21 side, a title she held for two years before she made history as the first Black netball player to play for the senior international team. During Black History Month, she said that ‘black history is a part of netball history’. You can watch the full video here.

Cherron Inko-Tariah – Back to Netballer

Cherron Inko-Tariah, who is the CEO of The Power of Staff Networks, played netball throughout primary and secondary school before discovering Back to Netball as an adult. During Black History Month, she said: “I think it’s important that we look through the history of netball and look at where we are today and think about the contribution made by people from the African diaspora to help make the game what it is today.” You can watch the full video here.

Jenny Thomas – Walking Netball Host

Jenny Thomas first started playing netball in primary school and is now a Walking Netball Host. She still regularly plays as a goal keeper and watches the sport on TV. During Black History Month, she said: “Netball has brought through some fantastic African and Caribbean players which needs to be celebrated.” You can read the full article here.

Jewel Uchegbu – Netball Development Officer

Jewel Uchegbu’s netball journey started in primary school and has continued ever since with her currently working as a Netball Development Community Coach for England Netball. During Black History Month, she said: “We can educate our young people and Netball Family, and embrace the role models that we have within the sport.” You can watch the full video here.

Marlene Wander – Vice Chair

From coaching to umpiring, assessing and mentoring to founding a club over 36 years ago, Marlene Wander has been involved in netball in a variety of roles for over 40 years. She is also currently Vice Chair of the London and South East region and Chair of Kent County Netball. During Black History Month, she said: “I think that we just really need to spread the word, not only just about all our different denominations of people that’s within the sport and celebrate who they are, but also ensure that saying netball makes us be the person that we are and that netball is me.” You can watch the full video here.

Ebiso Whyte – Youth Netballer

Ebiso Whyte started playing netball in Year 9 with her club and joined Vitality Netball Superleague club London Pulse as a defender just over a year ago. The Youth Netballer, 15, said during Black History Month: “It’s so important that the netball community celebrates Black History Month”. You can watch the full video here.

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