As part of their target of getting 1 million people doing more sport by 2012-13, Sport England includes an emphasis on the need to encourage women and girls to participate in sport.
Over the period 2009-12 Sport England will invest £480 million in the national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport to deliver increases in participation within their individual sports. While Sport England has not set specific targets for NGBs on increasing participation among particular groups of people, funding levels for the sports were in part assessed on the strength of their strategic plans to deliver on increased participation amongst women, black and minority ethnic groups, and disabled people.
Furthermore, Sport England, acting as a centre of best practice and working with their national partners, are committed to continuing to help NGBs deliver and to push them to do as much as possible to deliver for these groups. In the particular case of women and girls, funded and supported by Sport England, the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation is actively engaged with all of the NGBs, working in a consultancy capacity to advise the individual NGBs on best practice for increasing women’s participation in sport.
For the NGBs, developing the girls’ and women’s game, disability sport, and reaching out to diverse communities is not an optional extra but a vital part of what they are required to do. If any sport does not accept this challenge, Sport England will switch their funding to those that do.
One of the key ambitions at Sport England is to help partners such as governing bodies to deliver sporting opportunities to as many people as possible, including women and girls. Through Sport England’s investment process each national governing body of sport (NGB) was asked to produce a Whole Sport Plan outlining the ways in which they intend to drive up participation within their specific sport from 2009-13. Funding levels for the sports were in part assessed on the strength of their strategic plans to deliver on increased participation among women, black and minority ethnic groups, and disabled people.
To support NGBs in the design and delivery of provision to encourage women and girls to participate in sport, NGBs now receive tailored support from the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF). Funded and supported by Sport England, the WSFF is actively engaged with each of the NGBs, working in a consultancy capacity to advise the individual NGBs on best practice for increasing women’s participation in sport.
Sport England is also ensuring that new funding streams, such as the Themed Rounds and the Innovation Fund, support the development of women’s participation in sport.
The Sport Unlimited programme, a Sport England funded initiative, which aims to increase opportunities for children and young people aged five to 19 to participate regularly in sport, also targets girls to take part. The latest statistics show that 49 per cent. of girls versus 51 per cent. of boys have so far taken up this scheme.
As with Sport England, all Youth Sport Trust programmes are inclusive, although a number have been specifically developed as tools to support the work of schools to increase girls’ participation, involvement and enjoyment of physical education and sport.
GirlsActive, launched in 2006, is an initiative designed to empower teenage girls to enjoy more sporting activity on their own terms. Seven centres have now been established across the country, which are driving the work around increasing girls’ participation within each of their own regions. The regional centres are a joint approach between the Sports College and the School Sport Partnership.
The Sports College lead on high quality PE and curriculum innovation work and the School Sport Partnership drive the implementation and innovation of an agreed regional delivery plan to increase girls’ participation across the region. Over 20,000 girls have been reached since September 2008.