Welsh Netball is very pleased to share the news that Siân Ponting of Llantwit Fardre Walking Netball Club has been nominated for the final shortlist of the prestigious 2019 UK Coaching Awards as Community Coach of Year.

Siân, who set-up and leads sessions for the 1 year-old club in Rhondda Cynon Taff is one of four finalists in the Community Coach of the Year category, with the winner set to be revealed at the UK Coaching Awards night on 5 December in London.

Reacting to the news that she had been nominated for the UK-wide award, Sian said: “It was such a surprise to receive the e-mail with the news and I’m trying to come to terms with the enormity of what this means –  not only for me – but for us as a club!

“There wouldn’t be a club with our incredible players and we’re all very grateful for the support that we have had from Welsh Netball, the Women’s Institute and Sport RCT. Without the initial pilot partnership there wouldn’t be a club here today.”

The story of Llantwit Fardre Walking Netball club began just over one year ago, when Welsh Netball in partnership with Sport Rhondda Cynon Taff and the Women’s Institute launched some walking netball pilot sessions at Llantwit Fardre Leisure Centre which grew into one of Wales’ first walking netball clubs. In that time, the walking format of the game has gone from strength to strength across the nation. Working in collaboration with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes Cymru, Welsh Netball has helped launch even more walking netball sessions across Wales, which are having some wonderful health and well-being benefits on their participants.

Meanwhile, in Llantwit Fardre, the new club’s walking netball sessions have quickly become oversubscribed, leading the club to launch a second night of training. The club now also has its own badge and its members regularly get to together outside of training as well.

Sarah Jones, Welsh Netball CEO was pleased to hear of Sian’s nomination. She said: “The work that Siân has done in setting up and growing the club has been phenomenal. She has supported and nurtured the club’s many members over the last year and the benefits it has brought them have had an impact way beyond netball.

“The impact on physical and mental well-being that walking netball has is well-documented and there are dozens of women in Rhondda Cynon Taff reaping the rewards of being involved in sport all because of the hard work Siân has put in. Siân is someone that netball community and all of Wales can be very, very proud of.”

Club members were also keen to share their thoughts on Sian. Rachel Smith said: “Siân is absolutely amazing. She is kind, caring and enthusiastic and looks after you as a person. She calls you outside of training to make sure you’re ok and her sessions are really fun and enjoyable with a great atmosphere.”

Jill Davies added: “Siân is probably the warmest, most compassionate person I know. She cares about everybody and looks after us all like a mother hen.”

Welsh Netball wold like to congratulate Siân on making the final of the UK Coaching Awards and wish her all the best for the big night in December.