Midweek Focus: Newbury Volleyball Club
20th February 2013
"Driven by our passion, we are committed to making volleyball a sport of choice for all young people in our area."
Newbury Volleyball Club is real grass roots volleyball, from the depths of rural West Berkshire, an area firmly entrenched in other, more traditional sports. Formed in 1994, the club started as a handful of locals and the following year the club registered with Volleyball England and joined the local league.
Initially the club trained in a village hall as the demand for school halls was high in the area and the club battled with other sports. After being semi-nomadic for a couple of years the club eventually moved into a school hall and started regular training. Following this Newbury’s numbers began to build and its men’s team won the local league a couple of times. Seeking further challenge the team entered the National Volleyball League (NVL) and gained promotion to NVL Division 2 in 2011.
About eight years ago the club launched a junior section after attracting a few youngsters whilst playing in the park. Once word of mouth caught on, Newbury was able to develop a number of age group teams who competed in Regional and National junior competitions and are regularly ferried around the beaches of the south to play beach volleyball during the summer.
In 2011 Newbury suffered a double blow when its NVL coach retired and the clubs training hall was earmarked for demolition. A new school hall was built but Newbury’s local authority failed to consult with the club which resulted in post holes and anchor points missed off the plans. The club soldiered on in the old hall with poor heating, failing lights and cleaning it themselves – this meant that Newbury had no option but to withdraw from NVL, having suffered a dip membership and income.
Two years of negotiations ensued in which Newbury met with the council and sent over 700 emails to resolve important issues. The club managed to raise £8,200 for work to be done and to purchase new equipment; and finally in November 2012 with invaluable technical support from Volleyball England, Newbury moved into new premises which would be the envy of most clubs.
It has been a tough period in which all of Newbury’s projects had to be put on hold. But looking into Newbury's busy future the clubs immediate goals are to restore membership levels and renegotiate with the local School Sports Partnership for inclusion into the curriculum and local interschool competitions. The club has also enjoyed two coaching sessions from Alex Jenkins GB U23 captain and former GB player, Clayton Lucas and is due to host the Regional U15s.
Alongside these plans Newbury has launched a summer tournament in June that alongside the main competition will accommodate novice sides from local companies and health clubs – in order to attract beginners; and has ambitions to build a beach court near its training venue.
“Developing a volleyball club in a very conservative, provincial area is a huge challenge. Change is very slow, but we have learned to never give up and never go away. Driven by our passion, we are committed to making volleyball a sport of choice for all young people in our area. As well as offering sound coaching, we encourage all players to learn to referee and coach to maximise their own participation and equip them to promote our sport wherever they may end up. Oh and did we mention the summer tournament? We are counting on you coming.” Richard Cottle, Club Chairman.
Men’s team local BVA league (12 members)
Women’s team BVA league (10)
Mixed team BVA league (15)
Development squad BVA league (12)
Junior various age group teams (20)
School groups (50)
- Winning Volleyball England’s Club of the Year and two-time runners up
- Runners up in the Sports Club of the Year 2005
- Becoming the first club in the country to achieve Volley 3 Clubmark status
- Initiating the Development League for local Berkshire Volleyball Association (BVA) - welcoming clubs with players who are new to the sport
- Awarded Most Open and Inclusive Sports Club of the Year 2011 by The Foundation for Sport and the Arts
- Opening two new volleyball venues 2012
- Started training with two schools
Get in touch!
Training at Trinity School, Newbury
Tuesdays: 7-8.15pm juniors, 8-10 adult improvers and women
Thursdays: 7-8.15pm juniors, 8-10pm men and mixed team
email: firstname.lastname@example.org telephone: 01635 30731
email: email@example.com telephone: 01488 638650
Facebook: Newbury Volleyball Club
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To find out about local volleyball sessions around the country and in your area please visit the Go Spike website www.gospike.net