Girls Together places a focus on engaging teenage girls who are currently inactive and lack confidence or self-esteem. The #INNERSTRENGTH project operates in curriculum time and as a community programme. A pilot programme was created targeting three secondary schools in Cardiff and a community version from one leisure centre in a deprived area of the city.
Girls Together developed relationships with several partners to progress the project, including Street Games – Us Girls, Cardiff Youth Service, Full Circle Education, Public Health Wales and Greenwich Leisure Limited. The pilot phase engaged 95 girls aged between 13-16 years.
Workshops were created to provide a platform for young people to share their opinions and discuss how they can challenge negative behaviours. During the workshops, participants complete several theory-based activities focused around issues that affect a young person’s wellbeing. They cover topics such as body image, unhealthy and healthy behaviours, media literacy and barriers to participation.
Alongside the workshops, they deliver a number of physical activity interventions to inspire girls to be in control of their activity levels and understand the benefits of leading an active lifestyle. The activities provided are unique and help girls to consider classes they may not have tried before in a school environment such as spin, yoga and boxercise.
Results from the pilots showed an increase in physical activity levels and increases in confidence. Four girls from the pilot have also taken on additional opportunities by enrolling on the Sport Cardiff Young Ambassador programme - an opportunity they say they would not have applied for without having gained confidence through the #INNERSTRENGTH project.
Overall, 83% of girls felt the course had increased their confidence and there was a 700% increase in the number of girls meeting the recommended physical activity guidance of 5 hours per week following completion of the programme.
The programme pilot is now complete and the scheme is being rolled out across three more leisure centres from September 2018, targeting areas of deprivation. By January 2019 there will be 6 community courses operating across the city as well as a number of schools’ interventions targeting each of the 22 secondary schools located in the city.
One participant involved in the community version of the project commented, “INNERSTRENGTH has allowed me to meet like-minded people and openly discuss topics of significance not only for my generation, but for females. We have learnt to encourage each other and to put our value above the judgement of others.”
How does the project encourage more volunteers to join?
The project is committed to making voluntary opportunities as accessible as possible to females, and their goal is to get more women and girls in Cardiff supporting each other to increase their physical activity levels.
Volunteering opportunities are publicised on the Sport Cardiff Sports Hub and among students on Sports Development degree programmes. They also are also advertised by a housing association who promote volunteering opportunities for vulnerable women.
To find out more about the project, please click here.
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