Fifteen projects aiming to get more women and girls in Scotland taking part in sport and physical activity are set to benefit from £300,000 of investment from the Scottish Government’s Women and Girls fund.
The beneficiaries of this programme include women and girls who have previously had little or no access to sport and physical activity for a wide variety of reasons. Some of the most marginalised in society have been targeted for support, such as residents of Scotland’s most deprived communities, survivors of sexual abuse and young women and girls with severe physical impairments.
Benefits of sport
Sports Minister, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, congratulated the projects that have been successful in their applications.
He said: “There are so many benefits to making sport and physical activity a part of daily life. From improving physical and mental health, to developing skills and strengthening communities, the impact can be life-changing and that’s why we want as many people as possible to enjoy those benefits.
“It is encouraging to see that participation in sport and physical activity by women and girls in Scotland is increasing, but some still face barriers to taking part.
"The projects who will be supported through the £300,000 Women and Girls fund have shown great insight and innovation in understanding those barriers and taking steps to address them. I look forward to seeing the impact that they have.”
Projects across Scotland will receive between £10,260 and £28,000 and will be delivered across Scotland led by governing bodies of sport and local authorities, in conjunction with other partner organisations.
Mel Young, chair of sportscotland, said: “Sport has the power to change lives and the projects chosen to receive this funding demonstrate that the benefits of participation go way beyond simply improving physical health.
“For some of the women and girls, the impact literally could be life-changing, as they develop the social skills, self-confidence and employability skills they need to progress in life.
“sportscotland’s Fit for Girls programme consulted with girls directly to identify and understand the barriers to participation and the Women and Girls fund gives us the ability to build on that knowledge.
"By working with our partners, we can deliver opportunities to target the least active who would gain the most through a lifelong engagement with sport.”
In most of the projects, the sports and activities on offer have been chosen in consultation with the women and girls who will participate and range from traditional team sports, including football, to fencing and outdoor sports.
Sport for life
The partnership between Highland Council’s Bridge Education Centre and Velocity Café and Bicycle Workshop in Inverness aims to engage with young women between 14 and 20 years of age who - due to emotional, behavioural or social issues - are underachieving in school or life and are unlikely to take part in any physical activity without external support.
Using cycling as a tool to get the girls outdoors, learning new skills, looking and feeling healthy and feeling socially connected, the partnership will work with small groups to set achievable goals from basic cycling proficiency to bike maintenance and even weekend bike-packing and camping.
Providing opportunities to participate will help the young women to make the connection between physical activity and mental wellbeing and encourage lifelong participation.
Jannine Thompson from The Bridge Education Centre said: “I recently took a girl out mountain biking from here at The Bridge, it was a beautiful sunny day, and we went down to the Cairngorms National Park.
"It was the first time she had been on designated mountain bike trails and despite being a little dubious at first, she soon got in to it, and by the end of the day she was buzzing! She talked about it all the way home, and has since asked her Dad if she can go mountain biking with him.
“It is really this that I want to capture, and to be able to extend the reach of the project so all the young women we work with can experience the ‘buzz’ of being outdoors and active. The boost in confidence that comes with an experience like this can make a huge difference.
"We are creating memories that will stay with them for a long time."
To be eligible for the funding, the projects had to demonstrate how they would be sustainable to ensure that women and girls remained engaged after the funding period. Links with local clubs and Active Schools programmes will be critical to keeping the women and girls engaged, while free equipment will be made available, including bicycles and golf clubs, to reduce some of the barriers to participation.
Basketball Scotland / 10 clubs - £13,500
Female-only sessions for those wanting to take up or return to basketball
Boxing Scotland / Active Schools - £13,600
To deliver introductory boxing sessions for girls and women to increase female participation in the sport
City of Edinburgh Council / North Edinburgh Youth Work Consortium - £15,000
Deliver an inclusive outdoor education programme to young women and girls in North Edinburgh
Clackmannanshire Council / Sauchie Community Centre - £23,400
To develop sporting physical activity opportunities for women and girls in the Sauchie area
Fife Council / Community Learning and Development Fife Council - £11,950
To engage inactive girls and young women using fun activity sessions, building up to life-changing adventure experiences through cycling to develop confidence, self-esteem and social skills
Highland Council / Velocity Café & Bicycle Workshops - £26,315
To engage young women with poor mental or physical health or social isolation who are struggling to find motivation to exercise regularly
JudoScotland / Member clubs - £21,340
To build on the award-winning ‘Judo Girls Rock’ programme to narrow the gender gap in judo
Renfrewshire Council / Scottish Football Association, Basketball Scotland, Scottish Gymnastics, Renfrewshire Leisure & Dance Leaders - £22,734
To deliver a coach education and schools-based coaching programme in all 49 primary schools in Renfrewshire
Scottish Athletics / Scottish Association for Mental Health - £10,260
Deliver the jogability project to increase participation and improve the mental health and wellbeing of young females with disability or additional support needs
Scottish Disability Sport / Capability Scotland, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy Scotland - £15,000
To engage women and girls with severe impairments into the sport of boccia
Scottish Fencing / Salle Ossian, Perth & Kinross Council - £17,841
Training for coaches to deliver sessions for female survivors of sexual violence
Scottish Golf / four clubs - £15,360
To create four regional women and girls golf hubs running fun activity and coaching sessions for newcomers to the game to grow female participation in golf
Scottish Squash / Scottish Women in Sport - £24,000
To build a workforce to support more women and girls into taking up squash
Stirling Council / Active Stirling - £28,000
Work with women to build employability skills through sport and physical activity
Triathlon Scotland / SH²OUT (partnership between British Triathlon & Royal Life Saving Society) - £11,700
To offer safe and supported open water swimming sessions to encourage more women and girls to take part in triathlon.