The Big Sister project, funded by £1 million from the final Tampon Tax Fund, provides a supportive space for teenage girls and aims to help them reclaim the joy of sport and exercise during puberty.
It also aims to break down the barriers that girls face in leading healthy, happy and active lives and to improve confidence and wellbeing among teenage girls.
What is offered as part of the Big Sister project?
As part of the programme, teenage girls between 9-15-years-old are being offered free gym memberships in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Norfolk.
The free six-month membership includes unlimited use of the gym and swimming pool, a selection of group workout classes and free access to virtual classes and resources through the award-winning Places Locker app.
The Big Sister project also provides nationwide access to an online platform which uses the voices and experiences of girls to inspire, empower and enable all teenage girls to enjoy sport and exercise during puberty. A network of Big Sister peer leaders has been recruited from sport, school and community organisations to provide support, represent girls of the same age, and help them to feel sport ready.
Girls participating in the programme can access free disposable and reusable period products and educational resources from Hey Girls. This is to promote good menstrual health, break down the myths and taboos surrounding menstruation and make sure that period poverty is not a barrier to getting involved in sport.
Teenage girls face significant barriers to sport and exercise
Through its research, Women in Sport found that teenage girls are up against significant barriers to accessing leisure facilities and sports opportunities to help them maintain active lifestyles. The charity identified four key challenges: affordability, body confidence, managing periods and worry about safety or harassment.
Teenage girls told us there were many complex barriers that prevented them from being active, and some examples include:
“Periods can limit you going training as you’re in pain and uncomfortable.”
“Up until the age of about 16, I was not aware that sports bras existed and had just been wearing my normal bra for exercise. I wondered why after most sport practices my chest hurt a little.”
“If I don’t throw the ball properly, I’ll be judged and shouted at and put off by the boys.”
Want to know more about the programme?
For more information about how girls can get involved and claim the gym membership offer, please visit: Big Sister Project | Places Leisure – Places Leisure