We’re investing £2 million of National Lottery funding into grassroots girls’ football as part of a new programme set to be launched by The Football Association (The FA) later this summer.
The Squad Girls’ Football programme will be aimed at getting more 12-14-year-olds into the game and links into our own work to tackle inequalities around gender activity habits.
Our latest Active Lives Children and Young People report shows that girls are less likely than boys to complete the suggested 60 minutes of physical activity a day outlined by the Chief Medical Officer.
The research shows that barriers to participation include 51% of girls saying they’re shy or self-conscious, while 46% lack confidence in their own ability.
This new programme aims to combat this by training coaches to ensure every girl has a voice and choice during the session, to guarantee their preferences and needs are catered for – a move welcomed by our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth.
"This is a hugely exciting and unique project, and one we’re delighted to be partnering with The FA on with a view to engaging more teenage girls with football," he said.
"The on-going noise and excitement around the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 is brilliant to see – our continued ambition is to now ensure all women and girls have the right opportunities to play for themselves.
"The upcoming launch of Squad Girls’ Football will play a pivotal role on this front, and by putting teenage girls at the heart of its session planning, we want to empower girls to get active in ways they will love and keep coming back to."
The funding announcement comes with England’s Lionesses having eased into the quarter-finals of the Women’s Euros and the tournament as a whole already having eclipsed the total attendance figure for any previous edition – before the group stage had even concluded.
Squad Girls’ Football’s launch will add to the existing participation programmes currently offered as part of The FA’s 2020-24 Inspiring Positive Change strategy and equal access ambition.
And the programme, which will be delivered by adult’s who’ve undertaken England Football’s EE Playmaker course or are already a qualified Level 1-3 coach, will aim to encourage girls to take part in more physical activity, increase their confidence and make them aware of other programmes available to them.