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The joy of volunteering: Growing the NSL with Jo Randall

While all eyes are often on the Netball Super League stars that take to court each weekend, none of it would be possible without JoRandall and her army of volunteers. 

Volunteer manager for England Netball and match-day event manager at Saracens Mavericks, Randall is one of the masterminds behind the scenes that make sure matches run like clockwork, from laying the floor to scanning tickets. 

Much of this essential work is carried out by volunteers who give up their time to support the sport they love, and it is that love that keeps Randall coming back year on year as events continue to grow in size. 

“It’s the whole buzz around netball being played and growing,” she said. “The sport is growing massively compared to when I was first involved. 

“The fan base is growing and the number of spectators coming to venues is growing, which is really good. I just love the buzz of it, I still have that fangirling with a lot of the players, and the friendships you make through it all. 

“Usually, I arrive quite early to set up, and make sure the floor goes down, set up the hall in terms of signage, bleachers, merchandise, desks and making sure that volunteers are all briefed and prepped. 

“I greet teams when they arrive, liaise with venues, and make sure that contractors are on board and ready to go and then off we go into the match.” 

Randall manages a team of volunteers for all the events she runs and reflected that there is a greater need than ever for people willing to lend a hand as the sport continues to grow. 

And while plenty of volunteers are netball superfans, there are lots that are new to game but provide much-welcomed event experience. 

Underlining it all is Randall’s commitment to make sure it is always a fun, welcoming environment for everyone involved.

“We have got a good mix. We have a lot of core volunteers who are passionate about netball, and netball is their life which is why they want to be involved,” she added. 

“At major events, we have brought in volunteers who just work on events across anything which is really good. They bring a different aspect into it. 

“I have a crossover from franchises into England Netball events which is good and we need to grow that; so people who work on international events can go into franchises and work on those as well. 

“I try to approach it as a friendly atmosphere, rather than being formal and official. If I do a volunteer briefing, I like it to be a friendly chat rather than just saying this needs to be done. 

 “It makes it more personable, and getting to know the volunteers is quite important; their background, where they are from, and what they like to do.” 

The 2024 Netball Super League season has seen fans flock in their numbers to the arenas of all 10 sides, with sell-outs now a regular occurrence for many venues. And with this trend likely to only continue on an upward trajectory, Randall encouraged anyone to try their hand at helping out on a match-day. 

“Events and match-days are becoming a bigger deal, so we need a stronger core of volunteers that can be a part of your main team,” she said. 

“I am recruiting all the time for new volunteers; we are bringing pathway players into it as well to help support the franchise. 

“There are a lot more roles that need specific people, rather than just coming to volunteer; it’s more in-depth now. 

“We are majority female within the events volunteers, but we are encouraging more men and we are getting more men involved which is good. 

“As much as we can, we will encourage you to watch the match as well, though that is not always possible.   

What is Jo’s advice to anyone thinking about getting involved? “Come and have a go. The friendships I have formed by being there is massive, and it’s a big part of my life.” 

Interested in getting involved in volunteering? Check out your local club’s website to find out more about volunteering at their events or head to England Netball’s volunteering page for other opportunities near you.

#SeeUsNow: Fierce. Ambitious. Unapologetic. We are the Netball Super League, and we will be seen. We lead the way in more ways than one. There is so much more to the league, our clubs, our players and behind the scenes and we are going to tell the stories that need to be heard this season. If you enjoyed hearing more about Jo’s story don’t forget to follow the NSL on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as keeping up with all the latest news and exclusive content by signing up to the NSL newsletter here.

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