A Crumlin community netball coach has been honoured for her tireless work to get local women active and involved in sport, after being named Community Coach of the Year at the 2019 Sport NI SportMaker Awards.

Joanne McElkerney formed a brand new netball club in the local area which now has a membership base of nearly 100 women and girls of all ages. Crumlin Community Netball Club (CCNC) provides netball and training sessions throughout the week to suit all abilities and the club now boasts an u19, u16 and u14 team as well as many u12s and younger.

The club has provided many of its members with the opportunity to return to the sport, after years away from the court, as well as having others who are extremely experienced and have played and coached at the top level in Northern Ireland. The club has had some notable performances over the past 12 months, with the senior women’s team and u16 junior team winning every single one of their league games and topping their respective leagues. Joanne’s dedication stretches as far as assisting players in developing their skills, by being part of the club committee and also helping several members start their coaching and umpiring careers. All this whilst raising a family and working as a nurse.

Josephine Lamb, who nominated Joanne for her award, said

“Joanne has made an incredible difference to the lives of almost 100 women and girls by forming the new netball club. She’s given so much to making it a success and she doesn’t stop!”

Sport NI’s SportMaker Awards recognise the contribution of the local sporting workforce – the coaches, officials, volunteers and projects making a difference. The Community Coach of the Year is awarded to outstanding coaches who have widened access to sport through excellent and innovative practice, particularly among groups with traditionally low participation in sport.

The award was presented to Joanne during a busy netball training session at Crumlin Community Netball Club on the 21 October. The trophy was presented by Louise McQuade, Club and Workforce Officer, Sport Northern Ireland.

Congratulating Joanne on her award, Sport NI Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown added:

“Sport NI believes passionately in the power of sport to change lives. By maximising that power, sport can reach out to people of all abilities to enable them to reach their goals. Joanne’s oustanding work as a coach is testimony to this as she channels her own passion and love for sport to improve the lives of females in the community. Through Joanne’s skillful coaching and dedication, all her teams are able to enjoy the personal growth, improved self-confidence, friendships and sheer fun that sport offers.

The SportMaker awards are all about shining a light on the exceptional sporting workforce that exists in Northern Ireland. On Behalf of Sport NI I would like to warmly congratulate Joanne on winning this award, and wish her and all the teams at Crumlin Community Netball Club all the very best for the future.”

Reacting to her win, Joanne said:  “I’m in total shock and wasn’t expecting this at all. I get so much enjoyment out of what I do – passing on my love and knowledge of netball to others and seeing them thrive and develop. I was really pleased just to be nominated, so to actually win the award has left me a bit speechless!”