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£1m of funding to help increase teenage girls’ confidence and activity levels

– 3 min read

We have been awarded £1m as part of a consortium of organisations to deliver the ‘Big Sister’ project which helps to improve confidence, wellbeing and activity levels amongst teenage girls. The project will be delivered by Places Leisure, our Group charity Places Foundation, Women in Sport and Hey Girls.

The consortium of organisations was awarded £1m from the final Tampon Tax Fund for the 'Big Sister' project which aims to break down the deep-seated barriers that teenage girls face to leading healthy, happy and active lives by creating a supportive network of 'Big Sisters'. The project will be delivered in Norwich, Derby, Sheffield and Rotherham where we have Places Leisure centres, and where we manage homes and communities.

Removing barriers to sport for millions of young women and girls

Through its research, Women in Sport found that young women and girls, particularly those in areas of higher deprivation, face significant barriers to accessing and maintaining active lifestyles. The charity identified four key challenges: affordability, body confidence, period poverty and worry about safety or harassment.

"1 in 3 young girls avoid sport and exercise because they feel self-conscious about their appearance. There is also a lack of knowledge of how to cope with the onset of puberty with only 10% of teenage girls reporting wearing a sports bra for exercise - more than half have never worn one.. Periods and period poverty further prevent girls from maintaining active. 7 out of 10 girls often avoid playing sport when they have their period and millions of young girls avoid after-school clubs and sports because of their period. Action needs to be taken to give girls and young women the chance to lead happy, healthy, active lives, which is why we developed the 'Big Sister' initiative. We are absolutely delighted to receive the funding from the Tampon Tax to make this vision a reality. We are delighted to bring together an incredible consortium of partners to help ensure that girls and young women are no longer excluded from physical activity and sport. Together we will support more young women to be active in their own community and enable girls to support other girls at a key time in their lives."

Wendy Hawk, Head of Engagement at Women in Sport

"Millions of teenage girls up and down the country face huge emotional and physical barriers when it comes to playing sports, including lack of body confidence and access to sanitary products. We want to make sure that young women and girls aren't excluded from participative, engaging physical activity close to home, and that they can access opportunities to lead a healthy and active life. We are really pleased to have received this funding from the Tampon Tax Fund and are looking forward to working with our colleagues at Places Leisure, Women in Sport and Hey Girls to deliver projects that will support the health and wellbeing of our young people.”

Debi Marriott-Lavery, Executive Director - Affordable Housing at Places for People

More on the funding and how it will support health and wellbeing

The funding is from the Government’s final Tampon Tax Fund which supports vital projects tackling issues that women and girls face across the UK.

The 'Big Sister' programme will help girls aged 9-15 in target areas feel ‘sport ready’ by recruiting a network of 'big sisters' - peer leaders and supporters from sport, school and community organisations. Sport leaders will be trained on the emotional and physical barriers girls face, and girls taking part in the programme will be offered free girl-focused exercise sessions, gym membership and access to the award-winning Places Locker fitness app. There will also be free reusable period products and digital resource packs to help girls feel confident enough to take part in sport.

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