Source: Manchester Thunder

Manchester Thunder and Nichols plc Launch ParaNetball

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Saturday 5th November saw the launch of Netball Super League (NSL) franchise Manchester Thunder’s ParaNetball sessions, offering a unique inclusive netball opportunity to people in the SEND community who live with a disability. This is the first time that a NSL franchise has launched an official ParaNetball programme, and has been built on the foundations that local Manchester team, Dominoes Netball Club, established in 2021.

ParaNetball is an adaptation on the traditional game of netball. At the sessions, focus is on the ability within disability, ensuring that they are inclusive to everyone taking part, no matter their disability. The hope is that all the participants that come to take part have fun, use some energy up and are in an environment with people similar to themselves, but also people who are not so similar to themselves.

At the Manchester Thunder ParaNetball launch event, over twenty disabled people from across the North West travelled to Wright Robinson College to take part in the session. The day was a huge success, and was full of lots of running, games and many happy smiles and laughter on the faces of all the participants, parents and guardians. At the end of the session, participants were treated to an appearance from Manchester Thunder mascot, Thunder Bear, who came to say hello to everyone.

In England, there are over 1.5 million deaf and disabled women and girls under the age of 50. In a 2017/18 report produced by Active Lives for Sport England, it was reported that 42% of disabled people are likely to be physically inactive, compared to are twice as many of 21% of non-disabled people. This is why active programmes such as ParaNetball are so important within the SEND community.

When asked why Vimto decided to invest in ParaNetball, Christine Shillington, People & Sustainability Director for Nichols plc, said: “Like Vimto, Manchester Thunder is a really great brand, and it is synonymous with elite sport. There is such a strong alignment between Thunder’s vision – increasing participation, accessibility, and inclusivity in netball, with what we’re trying to achieve, which is about creating access to opportunities for young people in the North West who need it the most. This matches our vision and values, and the opportunity was too good for us to pass up. We really believe in what Manchester Thunder are doing, and we feel very aligned about this and how it may grow across the North West.”

Gary Young, Commercial Director of Manchester Thunder, said: “The partnership with Nichols plc provides us with the capability to run free ParaNetball sessions and participate in the annual ParaNetball tournament run by England Netball. It’s really given us the means to make a difference by enabling us to secure the facilities, equipment and qualified coaches to fully support young people with disabilities.”

The Manchester Thunder ParaNetball sessions will run on the first Saturday of every month from 10am-11am at Wright Robinson College in Manchester, and they are free for all participants. If you would like to come along, please visit to sign up.

With thanks to Manchester Thunder