£10 million to tackle the gender gap in sport

Working to get more women into grassroots sport

On Thursday we revealed the sports projects that will benefit from a £10 million National Lottery fund to encourage Active Women and tackle the gender gap in sport.

Sports and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson and badminton star Gail Emms joined Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, in Nottingham to name the 20 projects we’re supporting.

The targeted investment will get more women from disadvantaged communities – and women caring for children – playing sport as part of the drive to deliver a mass participation legacy from London 2012.

At present, one in eight women regularly play sport in England. Whilst this has increased significantly in the past five years, it still trails behind men’s participation, with one in five taking part. Women from disadvantaged communities play even less sport, with less than one in 10 women taking part.

• Netball in the City – which will get over 12,000 women back on the court in Bristol, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Wolverhampton. More than £1 million has been awarded to England Netball for the project, which will provide fun and accessible sporting opportunities, through both traditional and modified versions of netball.

• A council’s domestic violence team will receive £154,509 to run a sports project at Hyndburn in Lancashire for women who’ve suffered abuse. Fit, Free & Fabulous will use the power of sport to help women to improve their health and self-esteem.

• £2.295 million has been awarded to a project that will get 30,000 women playing ‘doorstep sports’ in 49 of the most disadvantaged areas in England. Delivered by a consortium of sports organisations, led by charity StreetGames, it will also see over 200 events and festivals organised and 1,700 new coaches and volunteers recruited.

• A grant of £147,000 is going to Southampton charity Catch 22 for a project that will introduce women to activities such as boxercise, badminton, swimming and canoeing. Childcare will be provided for mums and lots of local sessions will be offered at a very low cost, with keen participants encouraged to stay on as volunteers or take coaching badges.

• A National Women’s Cycling Network will be created thanks to a £992,159 investment which will see 80,000 women getting on their bikes. British Cycling will: recruit cycling champions to organise led-rides and inspire others to take part; recruit women cycling instructors to teach basic skills and help people gain confidence on the roads; and organise nine women-only mass cycling events.

“We have many fantastic female athletes in this country, but not enough women participating at sport’s grassroots,” said Hugh Robertson MP. “More needs to be done to encourage women to participate in sport, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. The £10 million being invested by Sport England will give women the chance to try out new sports as part of a dedicated programme and hopefully keep them in sport in the future.”

Gail Emms, who became a mum nine months ago with the arrival of Harry, said: “As a new mum, I know only too well how difficult it can be to make time for yourself and to get out there and play sport. The projects receiving investment from Sport England today will make a big difference because they’ve really thought through the challenges women face in becoming regular sports participants.”

Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation said: “WSFF welcomes Sport England’s investment to increase the number of women from disadvantaged communities and mothers playing sport. Women make up over 50% of the population, yet despite this, many often find it hard to access sport due to a complex set of barriers and practical requirements. Projects tailored specifically to meet the needs of female participants are hugely beneficial and support our goal of creating a nation of active women.”

To find out more about the projects funded by Sport England’s Active Women programme, visit Sport England’s website

To find out more about Sport England’s strategy click here

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