FORMER Australian Diamonds international Cath Cox knew she wanted to be on the ground in person when Lismore Netball Association received a major fundraising boost.
Cox, who played 108 games for Australia between 1997 and 2013, has also worked as netball commentator alongside former teammate Liz Ellis.
Ellis has been a Northern Rivers resident at Booyong for over a decade now and shared her experience with Cox on the widespread flood devastation across the region.
"I know she was really affected by what was going on, as was the majority of the community," Cox said.
"Liz spent a lot of time in Lismore herself with some other friends and family just trying to help as much as possible.
"Living in Sydney it can be hard to imagine the enormity of it all, but having your best mate on the phone and describing it really made me realise how bad it was."
Cox is a Woolworths NetSetGo Ambassador and was there over the weekend when Lismore District Netball Association received its grant.
The grants program is an extension of Woolworths' new naming rights partnership of netball's junior participation program, NetSetGO.
The Lismore association were the recipients of a Woolworths $10,000 Pick Fresh Play Fresh Grant, which will go towards the rebuilding the community netball facilities and supporting local families to be involved with the association.
As a surprise Woolworths announced a further $20,000 including an equipment donation of balls, bibs and new goal post pads.
The package will also cover the registration fees for Woolworths NetSetGo participants in 2023 to encourage continued participation in the sport.
"To surprise them with the extra announcements and to see the tears in the club president's face was a really heart-warming moment," Cox said.
"I can't even fathom how hard it was for some people from listening to the stories; this is something Lismore really needs as this point in time.
"The kids have probably spent a lot of time alone recently, so to be able to see them back on the court with a smile on their face is really nice.
"I'm really proud to be associated with the program and hopefully we'll take some pressure off and help other families return again next season when the fees are covered."
The grants program was developed to improve the health and wellbeing of young netballers through increased physical activity and healthy diets.
"The Pick Fresh Play Fresh community grants are so important to the development of grassroots netball all over Australia," Cox said.
"Young netballers today are the next generation of the Australian Diamonds, so it's important that we invest in their health and education from a young age and give them best opportunity to thrive.
"As a mother to a young daughter, I can see first-hand the importance of surrounding our children with healthy habits to guide their decisions from an early age."
Netball Australia chief executive Kelly Ryan said: "The Pick Fresh Play Fresh grants provide much-needed support to grassroots netball communities right across Australia.
"The future of netball will be shaped by children participating in programs such as Woolworths NetSetGO, made possible through Woolworths' support for grassroots netball. We look forward to continuing to work with Woolworths to empower young netballers to eat well, be active, play netball and have fun."
Visit pickfreshplayfresh.netball.com.au for more information and to apply.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.