Galvanised by the success of the Lionesses in the recent Women’s World Cup, there is a new generation of girls who want to engage in the game.
This is something that we have seen across our girls programmes this year. Many of the girls displayed an appetite to play but had previously been held back due to a lack of provision, including facilities, coaches and equipment.
This reality really hit home this week as we were met with an all too familiar email in our inbox from a teacher at a primary school in Devon who was seeking a new kit for their girls team. Despite their overwhelming success in comparison to any other team from their school, the girls’ football team was faced with the prospect of yet another season playing in a hand-me-down boys kit.
Thankfully on this occasion, the footballing community united to support our public call for help, with professional players Mollie Kmita, Fran Kirby and Beth England all responding to the request.
Unfortunately, this particular example is one that befits a similar narrative across the country. Provision that encourages active participation in football is too often an after-thought for girls. Women’s football may be experiencing its moment in the spotlight, but a lot more investment in grassroots football is needed before the legacy of this World Cup is secure. So, from September, FBB will be trebling our girls provisions in schools. This growth is necessary to ensure that inclusion is not just a buzzword. Our programmes work to raise the aspirations of young women through building trustworthy relationships with relatable role models, providing girls with a safe space to explore and develop new skills. We provide therapeutic support that increases confidence and self-esteem and enables girls to develop strong connections with their peers, all framed around a love for football.
Our Head of Female Participation, Ceylon Andi Hickman said:
‘The beautiful thing about football is its ability to bring people together, but the sad reality is that girls and women have been historically excluded from that. But thanks to the hard work and determination of so many women in football who have worked tirelessly over the years, we are entering a new dawn where girls and women are experiencing firsthand the benefits that football brings. It’s been amazing to see how much the girls on our programmes this year have grown and developed a huge passion for the game. The success of the Lionesses last month only served to embolden this feeling and we are delighted that as an organisation we are able to act upon this momentum and reach more girls than ever before.
One of the participants, 15-year-old Kenza Boutalbi, said the following about next year’s girls programme:
‘Me and the rest of our group all love FBB. It’s great that we’re going to get an opportunity to mentor the next generation of girls on the programme now we’ve graduated. I’ll be using this as an opportunity to teach younger girls skills that will help them succeed in life. I believe that everyone is confident, it just takes the right environment to show that.’
For more information please contact our Communications Manager Kelvyn Quagraine: firstname.lastname@example.org