Premier League Kicks Relaunch New Girls Only Session
DOCKLAND SETTLEMENTS GIRLS FOOTBALL
According to the women’s sport foundation, by the age of 14 girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys. This is a particular issue in the London borough of Southwark. According to data collected by Southwark Council just over 40.2% of males compared to only 28% of females are taking part in 30 minutes of sport per week. According to This Girl Can, which is a nationwide campaign backed by Sport England with the objective of getting women and girls moving, regardless of shape, size and ability 40% of women aged 16 and over are not active enough to get the full health benefits of sport and physical activity, compared to 35% of men.
Engaging more woman and girls into sport has been a hot topic for many years with the likes of the Premier League and Sport England trying to implement a big push over the last few years. Regarding girls in sport, the Premier League Kicks programme will be looking to increase female participation between the ages of 8 to 18 playing football on a regular basis and to increase the opportunities for women and girls to develop skills and confidence and progress within the pathway as a player, coach or an official.
In partnership with the Dockland Settlements in Rotherhithe, the Millwall Premier League Kicks programme have been running a free girl only football session which runs every Thursday from 5-6pm for girls aged 8 to 12 where the group are encouraged to develop a mastery of the ball and be confident to try new things, be confident in showcasing their individuality on the ball and use the individuality to benefit themselves and their friends. The group also work on a range of skills such as running, jumping, hopping, bending, twisting and dodging. All of which are important motor skills. These motor skills are vital to a child development as they help a child gain strength and confidence in their body. Furthermore, it helps them to get exercise which is important for a physical, physiological and social lifestyle.
A parent of a participant that attends the session was in full praise of the efforts Millwall PL Kicks are investing into girls’ football: “My daughter loves the only girls football sessions run by Millwall Premier League Kicks for girls. Each session is run with care and never lacking in fun. The girls develop their skills, are aware of targets they can aim towards and are constantly praised for their achievements. The coaches are approachable, polite and supportive to the girl’s individual needs. I highly recommend the sessions to any girl who is wishing to improve her football skills, to gain confidence on as well as off the pitch and to have a positive attitude towards team sports and girl’s football particularly.”
Millwall Premier League Kicks coordinator and coach on the session Gary Otim commented: “Its been a massive drive of the Kicks programme to engage with more girls in sport. Our track record of general engaging, retaining and sustaining participation over the years has been excellent. We have always been strong in this regard due to the high demand of football from boy and young men in the boroughs of Southwark and Lewisham. However, with the support from the Dockland Settlement and the Premier League we have been able to start a free girl’s only football session. By targeting girls at an earlier age means hopefully they will continue a longer-lasting journey in football where they will hopefully stay in love with football and sport. Many of the parents have commented saying there aren’t enough accessible provisions for girls which is something we will continue to try to rectify.
Millwall Community Trust will continue provide a wide range of weekly football sessions across the London boroughs of Southwark and Lewisham under the Premier League Kicks programme. For more information about Millwall’s Premier League Kicks programme, please contact Gary Otim on 020 7740 0503 or email or follow us on Twitter @Millwall_Kicks.