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Oxford City FC and Access Sport launch new female leadership programme

Oxford City FC and Access Sport launch new female leadership programme

By Luke Weir
8 October
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Oxford City FC and Access Sport have launched 'Grow' - a new female leadership programme - with the aim of growing female participation in sport.

  • Oxford City FC and Access Sport are working together to grow female involvement in sports coaching, leadership and management.
  • Participants will receive training, mentoring, be supported with placements and given the opportunity to attain qualifications.

Each week there are 1.5 million more men playing sport than women and each day only 8% of young girls are meeting recommended exercise guidelines.

Research has shown that drop out amongst females can be caused by their perception that sport is a male-dominated activity and that adolescent females place a greater emphasis on self-comparison and comments from adults than males do.

In 2018, 41 % of people surveyed who had volunteered at least twice in the year in sport were female however, only 33% of these roles were as coaches.

This research highlights the need for more females to be involved in
coaching and managing sport, from grassroots through to elite. Same-sex role models inspire emulation, aspiration and increase self-esteem.

Ruth Senior, Football and Sports Development Manager told us more about why the club felt it was so important to create an initiative like this: “As a club we want to be as inclusive as possible and at the moment our club doesn’t represent our wider community as much as we would like. We also understand the importance, as a community-centred club, of providing a positive voice and experience for young girls to combat the pressures and struggles of life in the social media age. Positive role-models are a big part of this programme as we understand the importance of showing that girls can coach, manage or run around a muddy football pitch on a Sunday afternoon.

"Increasing the number of females in leadership roles is not just a quick fix. We’ve created a holistic approach to the problem that includes 5 different partners to inspire females to complete comprehensive development pathways and ultimately take up leadership roles within our organizations. We’re also pleased to include Oxford City Women FC in the programme as the players play an important role in inspiring young girls.”

Alex had been playing football since she was 5 years old and is one of Grow’s first
participants. She decided to get into coaching after completing a work placement with Ignite Sport UK and Oxford City FC through school. Alex now regularly coaches across community sessions and now helps with an Oxford City FC Girls’ team:

“It was quite intimidating when I first started coaching. It’s sometimes hard when you are the only girl. But the support that this programme has given me has increased my confidence in myself and my ability. I really like working with the girls’ team as the players look up to you and really try to take on board what you are saying. The support you get with your qualifications really helps too. I am really looking forward to completing my level 1 in the New Year as the programme gives me a holistic support network. I am also looking at a career in sports coaching because of this programme.”

Participants of Grow will each get their own personalised development plan, have access to mentoring and funding for qualifications. As the programme grows, the participants will also get the opportunity to take part in exclusive workshops as a group.

Additional opportunities such as; conflict resolution training and public speaking will support the development of participants into well-rounded leaders, who are ready to complete their Level 1 and 2 coaching qualifications.

Hayley Sanders, Development Manager from Access Sport in Oxford said: “Females
face different barriers to participation than men and we want the Grow Project to give our female trainees confidence so that they are ready to undertake their coaching qualifications. By running a bespoke programme like this, a support network will be instantly created where the participants can share their experiences, give advice and learn from each other. We are launching with a small group of female but I’m excited for the future and the impact that the Grow Project can have on other clubs and sports in Oxfordshire”.

The Grow Project launches as the current FA Women and Girls Football Strategy comes to an end, (2020). It will continue to support the objectives: ‘Increase the number and diversity of women coaching, refereeing and administering the sport at all levels’.

Grow is being supported by the National League Trust, Ignite Sport UK and Oxfordshire FA.

The Grow Project will begin in October and will be run at Oxford City’s ground, Marsh Lane, Oxford OX3 0NQ. For further information on how to register your interest as a participant or to offer support to the programme please contact Ruth Senior. Please note spaces are limited to express your interest early to avoid disappointment.
T: 01865 750906
M: 07880190594
E: ruth.senior@oxcityfc.co.uk

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