Alison Leach: Deaf Netball is coming back! Come to Birmingham and join in

Posted on April 24, 2015

BID Services in partnership with England Netball, partly funded by Sport England, is pleased to host the return of Deaf Netball on Saturday 9th May 2015 in Birmingham.

The 1990s saw an extraordinary explosion of Deaf Netball and in subsequent years there were up to 22 teams entering Deaf tournaments.

These would be on a bi-annual basis with Birmingham and Luton taking it in turns to host the event.  Regional and casual teams were established; new and old friendships flourished; a hint of a friendly competition and plenty of fancy footwork!

Glasgow held its first successful tournament in June 1998, further tournaments were held in June 2000 and June 2003.

Elsewhere in UK, from 2000 the number of players dwindled and the standard of play fell.

Many of the players started their own families, therefore were unable to commit to netball anymore; others struggled to secure funding or support and faced other barriers when trying to set up a formal team.

This echoed what seemed to be happening within other Deaf sports in the UK; many felt this was due to a decline in the numbers of Deaf schools and Deaf clubs and an increase in mainstream education.

Little or no fresh talent was being injected into Deaf Netball and people began to miss the social interaction it brought, isolation was on the rise and self-esteem at an all-time low, not to mention the lack of exercise increasing a few waistband measurements.

In March 2003, there were attempts to set up an England Deaf Netball Association with a view to have Home County competitions with other counties within the UK.

Deaf delegates were nominated from South West, South East, London, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North.  There was also a representative from Scotland.

This formal approach unfortunately did not see Deaf netball return to its prime; however ad-hoc tournaments were held, for example, in London and Derby in 2007 and 2009 by die-hard netballers. Wondrous memories of broken fingers, elbows meeting noses, attractive gym knickers and the post-match pint were relived.

Fast forward to 2015, BID Services received a request from several members of the London Deaf community to establish a Deaf Netball Tournament to bring back Deaf Netball.

With the backing of England Netball and financial support from Sport England, we are pleased to be able to host this historical and momentous event followed by a social event in the evening, open to all.

There is still time to register a team; all abilities welcome!

Please see the promotional video

Hope to see you there; let’s bring back the Deaf netballing community!

The netball day will be held on Saturday 9th May from 11am-4pm at Action Indoor Sports, Birmingham. To enter a team costs £50. For more information, email


The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. 

Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.

The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:


Posted in: alison leach