Northamptonshire Sport is teaming up with Street Games UK to offer groups £2,000 to get more women and girls into sport

Northamptonshire Sport has teamed up with Street Games UK to launch its ‘Women and Girls Fund’ which offers up to £2,000 to sporting groups in the county.

After the lockdown is released, the funds are intended to support those disproportionately affected by the pandemic and help “remove barriers” which the fund says significantly impact their ability to be physically active.

Citing the statistic that 27% of women and girls in the county are inactive, the group said Covid-19 has seen women and girls experience a prolonged decline in participation and men have returned to activity more quickly, now that the restrictions have eased.

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With a total pool of £20,000 to invest, Northamptonshire Sport could have a significant impact on women’s sports in Northamptonshire.

For this reason, special attention is also given to “priority groups” covering lower socio-economic groups, ethnically diverse communities, people with disabilities and people with long-term health conditions.

The funds are also separated into three age bands. These are adults aged 14-18, 18-24 and older.

Matthew Peleszok, Principal Director of Northamptonshire Sport, said: “Thanks to our desire to increase access to a more physically active lifestyle, these funding pots allow us to reach out to new partners and discuss and develop exciting opportunities for more people to be active.

“It allows residents who don’t necessarily have direct access to opportunities to try new activities.

“Using trusted partners for these women and girls will be crucial in co-developing the new framework for physical activity in Northamptonshire.”

To be eligible, any applicant must offer at least 15 sessions of activities, specifically designed to include and motivate groups that the fund considers to be “disproportionately affected”.

The funds would not be intended to create dependency, but rather to ensure that the resource helps through a difficult time.

In the long term, it is hoped the fund will help ‘inform and create a future’ beyond the Northamptonshire Women and Girls Fund, so applications must show a level of sustainability within.

Asked what future she would like to see, Anjona Roy, head of the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council (NREC), said: “I think this is a great positive move by Northamptonshire Sport.

“It’s really clear that some communities have been more affected by the lockdown than others, not just in terms of general fitness, but also mental and physical health and general well-being.

“What we really appreciate is that this is a great opportunity to develop grassroots sports with groups of women who, although they may not be as active in sport now, could be attracted.

“We don’t know who will be the next great women’s footballer or the next best BMX rider, but that’s the goal of equality, so that we tap into the deepest of talent and have a better chance of winning. find someone who will excel.”

The deadline for the fund is February 2 at noon. Anyone who wants to know more can visit their website.

Ruth J. Leeds