Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire bring another localised This Girl Can Festival to Worcester City Centre
Posted: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 15:56
Last Tuesday, 14th November, 10 high schools from across Worcestershire attended a Worcs Girls Can festival, targeting the least engaged girls in years 10-11 facing barriers to physical activity. The day provides an opportunity for pupils to try out a range of alternative physical activities from Boogie Bounce to Glow Dodgeball as part of the festival. This forms part of Active Herefordshire & Worcestershire's localised version of the national This Girl Can campaign, to encourage lifelong positive behavioural change within the activity habits of young girls.
The Worcs Girls Can festivals are specifically designed based on unique barriers girls in Worcestershire face that come with living in a rural county. Some other barriers girls face to physical activity are low self-esteem, poor body image and low confidence resulting in lower numbers participating in PE locally, meaning they are not meeting their daily 60 minutes of physical activity.
Over 100 pupils attended the non-conventional physical activity festival at Worcester Whitehouse hotel, away from a school or sporting environment, allowing girls to feel comfortable and confident to get active, as we know many find typical sporting venues intimidating.
All participants had the opportunity to try new activities which are not traditionally offered in school PE lessons, including Boogie Bounce, Glow Dodgeball, CrossFit, teambuilding and problem solving.
With the intention of supporting the mental wellbeing of young people, building confidence, and understanding what the girls want to gain from PE lessons, we held Girl Talk sessions. These provided an opportunity for the girls to speak openly and honestly.
Local charity, HeadsUP, supported the Girl Talk sessions, initiating conversations regarding mental health, and breaking down the stigma that surrounds the topic.
Worcs Girls Can Champions from Droitwich Spa Sixth Form provided encouragement to younger pupils throughout the event and opened conversations about what pupils would enjoy from school PE in schools and how they feel about their PE kits.
The Worcs Girls Can campaign, led and delivered by Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire, aims to positively impact the health and wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem of women and girls locally, and encourage increased long-term participation in sport and physical activity.
According to the Youth Sport Trust Girls Active Survey, just 64% of girls enjoy PE in comparison to 86% of boys. This division is termed the 'enjoyment gap'.
Stephen Brewster, Chief Executive Officer at Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire said,
"A priority for Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire is to better engage women and girls in physical activity, since we know they are less active then our male population. Since girls face unique barriers to getting active, such as the menstrual cycle, it is important that we provide appropriate support to this audience, aiding them to reach Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines for physical activity."
"The Worcs Girls Can festivals pose as opportunities for us to create comfortable environment for the audience to be physically active and find enjoyable ways of getting active. Through the delivery of a non-traditional physical activity festival, we hope to leave a lasting impression on lifestyle on young girls in Worcestershire."
Kerrie O'Mahony, Children and young people project manager at Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire said "As local and national insight suggests, many young girls are being put off physical activity based on their experience with exercise and sport within school PE lessons. We need this to change, and through the Worcs Girls Can campaign, we are trying to do just that. We want to showcase the so many ways of getting active. Exercise doesn't need to be boring, unenjoyable or monotonous – rather, it can and should be enjoyable, exciting and fun. There really is something for everyone."
"During the girl talk sessions, all girls were encouraged to discuss the barriers they personally face to being physically active, from the menstrual cycle to the importance of correct, comfortable sportswear including well-fitting sports bras."
"Another key element of the day was sharing the importance of physical activity, and the huge positive impact it has on mental health and wellbeing, was another topic discussed, along with opening a conversation about what activities they would rather do in PE lessons in school following the festival, and collect this to shape our future festivals and the work we do with schools across the county"
For more information about the This Girl Can campaign in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, please visit our Worcs Girls Can page or contact Victoria Laflin on 07826993415.