LifeLine Projects

SW!TCH hosts Year of Youth girls’ netball celebration

On Wednesday 27th March, our SW!TCH team travelled to Isaac Newton Academy in Redbridge to host an all-day celebration of girls with a netball competition featuring teams representing five local schools.

This event was made possible through the support and funding from the Commonwealth as part of the Year of Youth, and was organised thanks to the hard work and dedication of Itoro from our SW!TCH team working in partnership with Natasha from our Business Development team.

Following short speeches from Nathan Singleton, LifeLine Projects CEO, and Azimin​​​​ Ibrahim, Project Manager for the Year of Youth, to mark the day, the netball competition began!

Taking part on the day were…

Games were played in round-robin fashion over the course of the day, ensuring each team got to play everyone else once. The games were concluded with a special match featuring MVPs from the assembled teams versus a SW!TCH team of Youth Development Workers and Ambassadors, who quickly went 4-0 down by half-time but fought hard to pull back to 4-3 by the time the final whistle blew.

At the end of the day, the points were counted with congratulations offered to Greatfields School as the overall winner and Barking Abbey School as the runner-up. In addition, the MVP Player award went to a student from Isaac Newton Academy.

However, netball was not the only thing being offered during the day. At the half-way point, the girls were again assembled to hear a keynote address from a special guest, courtesy of the Commonwealth—Her Excellency, Karen-Mae Hill OBE, High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda to the United Kingdom.

High Commissioner Hill gave an inspirational speech to the girls, reflecting on her own childhood in Antigua and having to fight for the chance to attend Oxford University, and urging them to seize opportunities when they present themselves or make them themselves when they don’t.

Later in the day, the girls gathered again for a discussion featuring Jodie Campbell from England Netball, who took questions on mental health and the importance of sport and physical wellbeing.

Whether it's to play the cello; whether it's to play netball; whether it's to be a fantastic nurse; whether it's to be a fantastic plumber; whether it's to be the greatest bus driver the world's ever seen—do it with pride, do it with dignity, and grab your opportunities—they are always there!

The netball competition during the Commonwealth Year of Youth celebration was a big success! We brought together young girls from different schools in East London, along with special guests like High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill OBE, Jodie Campbell from England Netball, and the Commonwealth Secretariat Team. Hosted by Isaac Newton Academy, our event not only celebrated sportsmanship but also fostered invaluable discussions on mental health through a panel session, highlighting the importance of holistic well-being.

Itoro (back centre) and Natasha (back right) with LifeLine CEO Nathan Singleton, High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill OBE, and Jakadi from the SW!TCH team

This was a really amazing opportunity for LifeLine to work and build a relationship with the Commonwealth—something we haven't done before—as well as with the hosting school, Isaac Newton Academy. The participating students gave great feedback and thoroughly enjoyed themselves and even asked if we could make netball one of our regular positive activities! I really hope we can do another competition again some day, to bring together all the different boroughs and schools we work in!

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