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The Department for Education has announced new funding for SLQ Sports Leaders’ Your Time programme to provide opportunities for thousands of girls aged 8-16 to access competitive sport and sport leadership opportunities over the next three years.
Launched in the same week as International Women’s Day, Your Time has been designed to support more teenage girls to improve their confidence, communication and self-belief and develop life-long leadership skills by co-designing and delivering sports activities with peers and in their local communities all while raising awareness and understanding of the barriers that are faced by girls participating in sport.
By growing the number of girls taking leadership roles in competitive sport opportunities and making this the new norm Your Time aims to break the stereotypes that exist around sport and female participation.
To encourage a lasting legacy, Your Time leaders will be sign-posted to extra-curricular activities so that they can continue to pursue their choice of sport.
18-year-old Joyce Npuna, SLQ Sports Leaders’ Learner of the Year for 2021, was in attendance for the programme launch event at her school in Barnet. She said: “In a society where there are constant barriers to achieving my goals, competing in sport has been my catalyst for change.
“It is thanks to participation in sport that I have been able to overcome some of the challenges of being a young black woman in sports, teaching me discipline, resilience and determination in every task that I set out to complete.
“I believe that every young girl can and will develop life skills from the Your Time Programme, that they may have lost due to the pandemic such as teamwork and communication, emphasising the importance of programmes like these. Sport isn’t just a game; it is the binding factor between all networks of women, working together to be the change we need in our community.”
Children and Families Minister, Will Quince, said: “Sport holds so many benefits for young people, for both their physical health and mental wellbeing, and I firmly believe that all children should have the opportunity to take part in physical activity, as a positive experience of sport at a young age can create a lifelong habit of participation.
“The launch of the ‘Your Time’ programme will give thousands of girls access to competitive sport opportunities, whilst also establishing new sports leadership roles. This will build on our existing work to encourage more young people to participate in sports, including through “Studio You” a video platform designed to help teachers engage less active young girls with physical education, improve their confidence and make being active fun.”
Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “l take every opportunity to champion women and girls sport at every level. The Your Time programme will encourage girls to participate in sport and put them on the road to being the sport leaders of the future. With the Commonwealth Games, Women's Euros and Rugby League World Cup this year it will be a massive year for women's sport and I encourage girls and women across the country to get involved.”
Richard Norman, Chief Executive at SLQ Sports Leaders, wants the programme to make a huge impact: “With Women in Sport’s recent report identifying over 1 million teenage girls losing interest and love of sport after primary school it is clear more needs to be done to encourage and reshape opportunities for teenage girls and who could be better positioned and informed to understand what girls want to get out of competitive sport than girls themselves? At the heart of the Your Time programme is to place girls at the centre of decision making, creating and delivering opportunities that their friends actually want!“
“Rather than prescribing or dictating an activity, Your Time supports students to go on their own learning and leadership journey and using research to discover why it is that girls and their friends may be more reluctant to take up competitive sport and the huge and often hidden barriers girls and women face.
“At SLQ Sports Leaders, we pride ourselves that over 50% of Sports Leaders are female. Your Time helps us to build on this heritage and find ways to increase opportunities for more girls to become role models and leaders in their communities. This is an exciting programme and we look forward to working with partners, schools, and the Department of Education to deliver it.”
SLQ Sports Leaders will develop a network of Your Time schools across England to participate in the programme. Each school will receive the training, resources and support to gain the knowledge and understanding needed to provide more opportunities to teenage girls. As part of this, schools will receive programme orientation sessions, access to learning modules, and packs containing promotional materials for teachers and branded equipment items for both leaders and participants. The programme will engage over 8,000 female participants building confidence and resilience and developing long-term life and employability skills based on SLQ Sports Leaders’ Skills Framework .
The Your Time programme is available now, at no cost, to secondary schools in England. You can find out more about the programme via sportsleaders.org/yourtime or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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