Girls Active is an organisation developed by Youth Sport, in partnership with This Girl Can and Women in Sport, which aims to work with girls to tackle negative attitudes towards PE, sport and physical activity.
The latest research from Girls Active showed that "there is a confidence crisis in young girls" which is stopping them from getting active from the age of around seven and that "even in primary school, almost twice as many girls as boys report that a lack of confidence stops them being active in school" (Girls Active, 2018). The organisation works alongside schools to enable teachers to work with girls "through consultation and leadership" in order to "make the necessary changes to their physical education (PE), sport and physical activity provision".
The Female Lead partnered with Girls Active for the Girls Active Awards 2018 in order to celebrate the achievements of girls in the programme to help encourage the next generation of girls to take part in physical activity. The Girls Active Awards are a celebration of the girls who are encouraging more girls to get active.
The Leader Award was awarded to Cariad Lucas, from Buckinghamshire, for consistently encouraging girls of all ages to be confident and to increase their activity levels.
Riley Morris from Manchester has won the Influencer Award after successfully coaching, managing and supporting female football players in her school.
The Personal Growth Award was awarded to Louisa McClintock from Lancashire after successfully marketing the school dance team, helping with her own anxieties along the way. She also bravely gave a speech on the positive impact sports can have on mental health at the dance showcase.
This year, Great Marlow GLAM from Buckinghamshire won the Girls Active Group Award. A group of 15 girls ran the weekly Girls Active Takeover Club, encouraging and promoting positivity, self-belief for girls, whilst making the activities fun!
Tia Kilkenny from Nottingham was awarded the Future Leader Award, a new award for primary school students. Tia is recognised for her enthusiasm in sport, and her encouragement of others to strive for their best.
We spoke to the five girls to find out what winning the Girls Active award meant to them (see below).
What inspired you to get involved in Girls Active?
Great Marlow GLAM – The idea of being a part of something that has the potential to change the lives of people that have previously not enjoyed sports.
Louisa McClintock – the chance to encourage and inspire young girls in my school.
Why do you think it’s so important to encourage young girls to participate in and enjoy physical activity?
Riley Morris – to promote a healthy lifestyle, physical activity is also such a good way to make friendships, socialise and help with mental health.
Cariad Lucas – Sport is a great stress reliever, as girls go through puberty their self-esteem drops. I think it is vital that we encourage girls to break stereotypes and feel free to play any sport they want.
What advice would you give young girls struggling with body confidence?
Riley Morris – Always be yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. Our differences make us unique and different is beautiful.
Tia Kilkenny – That you’re perfect the way you are and don’t change for anybody.
Cariad Lucas – You have to use outlets like sports to show yourself that you are more than what you look, or think you look like. Remember, you are never alone in how you feel, so you may as well all come together to feel better about yourselves.
What does receiving this award mean to you?
Louisa McClintock– Validation. I’d been struggling with mental health for a long time and thought I was never going to get better. I burst into tears and gave one of my PE teachers a massive hug when they told me I had won. I was so grateful that all the effort and work I had put in had been recognised by others outside of my school.
Riley Morris – it proves to other girls that we are capable of achieving anything, no matter what our circumstances. We can not only develop ourselves to be better but by encouraging others, we are able to create safe spaces where girls are confident to be themselves..
Do you have any female role models or mentors that helped encourage you through this journey?
Louisa McClintock – It sounds so cheesy, but my teachers have been rocks throughout this whole process. I view Mrs Cahalin – my headteacher – as such a strong and independent female figure and I hope that one day I will be able to be as confident and philanthropic as she is.
Cariad Lucas– My mum has always encouraged me to do sports and helped me to achieve anything. She never limited me because I was a girl and that is the attitude all females should have.
As you look ahead to 2019, what would you like to achieve?
Great Marlow GLAM – To reach out to more isolated girls that are reluctant to take part
Cariad Lucas– I am now looking at coaching outside of school and spreading the girls active message across a broader field.
Tia Kilkenny – To become a “leader” of Girls Active
To find out more about Girls Active, you can visit their website, or Instagram page!