Today I’m going to talk about a
subject and an organisation that is close to my heart. If you know me or have
been reading my blog for a while you will know that sport and getting women and
girl involved in exercise is something very close to my heart.
We all know from the facts that less
young women and girls take part in exercise compared to men. In 2011 British
Heart Foundation conducted research that found only 52% of 16-25 females took
part in the recommend amount of exercise compared to the 83% of men. The stats
alone are shocking that why I got involved with Us girls,a national programme designed by StreetGames to
increase and sustain young women’s participation in sport, fitness and exercise
in some of the nation’s most disadvantaged communities.
Girls main target audience is women and girls from deprived areas of the
community, I’ve lived in Benwell which is one of Newcastles most deprived areas
for around 18 years and sport was the one thing that kept me off the streets as
a young teenager. So you can imagine what I thought when this program was
launched in Newcastle. I first got involved by going along to a multi-sport
session at my local sport centre, the session was £1 and everyone was there to
have fun which is what made me go back every week. Now I help run the Newcastle
College Us Girls program that has around 30-40 young women involved in sport at
least once a week with many of them doing 2 or 3 different sessions a week.
Us Girls uses the key message #funfitnessfriends to
eliminate some of the barriers that stop local young women from taking part in
sport in their community.
The way that Us girls has done that is by doing
female-only sessions, using lifestyle role models, reward schemes, wellbeing
and confidence inspiring activities, opportunities to lead and attend Us Girls
Rocks festivals and events (These events are great btw).
In the last 12 months Us Girls have got over 65,000
females engaged in the programme. These hubs will be places for young women and girls to be able
to get the most out of the Us Girls program by encouraging collaboration
between Us Girls projects and local activity providers so the benefits can be spread to as many young women
and girsl as possible.
Girls is up for nomination in the National Inspiring Initiative by Women’s Sports Trust
#BeAGameChanger Awards 2016. These awards are to raise the visibility
and increasing the impact of women’s sport. Us Girls are up against two strong
projects: Aviva Women’s Tour and Park Run UK.
Below you can read about
how one young ladies story about how Us Girls has helped her.
Michelle Monk from Cowgate (Newcastle) has been able
to learn first-hand what Us Girls can do for young women in Newcastle. Michelle was already a keen footballer and got some sporting
qualification through her local college. Michelle decided to do some
volunteering for her local sporting project Hat-trick and then got involved
with the Newcastle Us Girls Hub. I asked Michelle a few question about Us Girls
so you can read about how it’s benefited her.
Q. Michelle, why did you first get involved with Us
I found that there weren’t many girls groups in
my local area and when I found out that there was one I knew, this was a chance
to join something new. I also wanted to meet new people and build some new
relationships with other people that had the same interests as me.
Q. What’s the main reason why you go to your local Us
One of the main reasons why I go to the Us Girls
project is because I wanted to increase my wellbeing and do this somewhere
where I knew that I wouldn’t get judged. Keeping fit and doing sports that I
love was another reason for going along and with the incentive scheme you get
rewarded for going along to sessions which is an another bonus.
Q. What have been the best benefits to come out of
being involved in your local Us Girls project?
While going along to Us Girls I have not just built up
my confidence, my self-esteem has improved as well. I’ve made new relationships
with other like-minded young women and I’ve become an Us Girls Ambassador which
involves me helping engage other young women to participate in sport and
can tell from Michelle Monk’s story that Us Girls is not only about getting
young women and girls involved in sport it’s about their wellbeing and helping
them to interact with other young people without judgement. Many young
women and girls like Michelle would be missing out on opportunities to get
involved in sport if it wasn’t for the Us Girls projects around the country.
said earlier Us Girls is up for National Inspiring Initiative by Women’s Sports
Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards 2016. Us Girls works with thousands of young women
and girls and from reading about Michelle’s story about how Us Girls has helped
her you can see the work that they do is important to many young women and
girls in the UK.
Closes at midnight on the Sunday 1st May and I would love if you could help by using the
link below to vote.
is the link http://bit.ly/20Piwt2
Hope that this gives you a little bit
of insight in the types of organisation that work in the North East and are
trying to help increase participation of young girls and women. I’ve left all the different social media pages that the Us Girls have so you can see what work there doing across the country for yourself.
Why not leave a comment of what your
favourite sport or do you wish you had been involved with an organisation like