As part of my sports development apprenticeship role, I conducted some research on female participation levels within our District, I found female participation is becoming an issue and the levels have been decreasing over a period of time. It was time to do my bit to try and challenge this! As time goes on less women are involved in physical activity and healthy active lifestyles. We can see this through the lower activity levels in schools, local gyms, and clubs.
So, to try and improve active participation I established a female programme named ‘This Girl Can Whitby’. I chose Whitby, as I live there and because I’m already involved in a number of clubs in the town. With my connections I could actively engage with key partners and seek to increase the low participation levels within the area.
I fully appreciate there are many reasons for not participating through your own experiences BUT, you can turn this around to find your love for feeling fit and heathy again. This Girl Can Whitby was set up to signpost participants to existing opportunities and get more women involved in sport and activities in the Whitby District. The national campaign ‘This Girl Can’ recently turned five years old, the project ‘This Girl Can Whitby’ embraces the core values and aims of the campaign, to encourage and celebrate female participation and volunteering in sport. The programme is inclusive to all, aiming to accommodate different sessions for different, ages, abilities, disabilities, ethnicities etc.
Having recently left school myself, I know from experience why girls are not participating. They would feel their makeup and hair was being ruined by having a fun run around with their school friends. This is becoming an increasing barrier for all school ages. However, couldn’t we overcome this by putting things in place such as extra time to get ready post PE sessions? Promoting the sporty look? Reminding young women, it is ok to participate?
Working out is good for the mind and body.
I used to love PE and after school clubs, so I want to make sure everyone has this opportunity at school. Clubs and PE sessions at school are the time you find the sports and activities you love. I continued to play hockey from school and then went onto playing for Whitby Hockey Club then represented Yorkshire. I love the team spirit and have met some of my closest friends through sport.
This Girl Can is a great way for women to find themselves through sports and activities they enjoy, try different and new things, a great time to socialise, to be happy in themselves and for the motivation between each other. This Girl Can!
Within the Whitby project, many different clubs within the area are involved for example, Whitby Hockey Club, Whitby Netball Club, Whitby Tennis Club, Everyone Active, Whitby Running Club and Whitby Boxing Club. All working together to achieve goals and outcomes for the area.
One of the new sessions I have set up to increase female participation as a fun evening activity is Social Rounders, which after a successful 6-week delivery period has been followed up with Socia Netball at Whitby Leisure Centre. This gives people in the area the opportunity to discover new sports and activities they enjoy, try new activities, meet new people; all whilst keeping fit and healthy. I have loved running the Rounders session once a week; seeing different levels and abilities some much better than they thought! Some people coming for their first time, meeting new people, having a laugh, building team spirits, all whilst keeping fit!
Join the Facebook Community to find out more information on upcoming new clubs and activities and to help you with healthy lifestyles. Along with the motivation from others! @This Girl Can Whitby.