Jess Thirlby on the #RiseAgain campaign: “We are one team”

There has never been a more important time for us all to rally together and collectively help netball #RiseAgain.

We can now start to play again through the modified version of the game but while this wasn’t possible, there have been other ways that people have shown their love and passion for the sport.

From innovative training ideas to Zoom club socials, the Netball Family have remained connected and committed, demonstrated none more so than by the rallying cries and pledges of support for the #RiseAgain movement.

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Speaking to The Netball Show shortly after the launch of the campaign, Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby said: “What an exciting and inspiring campaign the #RiseAgain campaign is.

“You know we all want to see netball emerge stronger and bigger than before, and I know that’s the kind of rhetoric around this campaign. I think it really resonates with everybody right now.

“We speak a lot as a group of Vitality Roses that we’re trying to fly the flag for everybody in taking our first steps back to training.

“It isn’t just about us; it’s about giving hope to everybody in that Netball Family.

“Now, more than ever, I hope that we can really demonstrate as a netball community that we are one team and we’re all trying to play our part, and if people feel that they can re-sign up to their membership, then that would just be fantastic.

“Because ultimately, if this has proven anything, it’s proven how much people love and need the sport.”

The initial reaction to the launch of the #RiseAgain campaign on social media was hugely positive from the Netball Family and drew comments from many clubs and individuals, including Claire Nelson (CEO of Netball Scotland) and Karen Rollo (CEO of Netball Northern Ireland).

When the 2020/21 membership year began on 1st September, over 35,000 members had already pledged their support to the #RiseAgain campaign with the 50,000 mark celebrated not long after.

After being asked about the wider netball community and support from other nations, Thirlby said: “In a situation like this, which nobody has experienced before, it doesn’t matter what colour the dress is, it doesn’t matter what country it is.

“This is about our global game, our national game and I think everybody is fully on board that we all play a part now.

“We’re all stakeholders in this beautiful sport and it’s really great just to see that camaraderie and sense of team even in moments like this.

“Now’s not the time to be competing with each other; it’s certainly a time to be united and trying to get the sport back where it was before and beyond where it was before – that’s the whole point of trying to come back stronger.”

At the start of September, the governing bodies for netball in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales came together to launch a joint initiative aimed at protecting the sport’s longevity and getting women and girls across the UK active again. You can find out more about the #TogetherWeAreNetball campaign here.

We can’t thank the Netball Family enough for your continued support and patience during these difficult times. You have truly demonstrated that netball is more than just a sport.

To find out more about the #RiseAgain movement and to pledge  your support, please click here.

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