GlowSports, Dodgeball and Running are the name of the game for girls across Wales, who are moving and loving it, thanks to Us Girls Wales.
With around 36,000 teenage girls living in poverty in Wales, Us Girls set about to reach them through sport.
Run by national sports charity StreetGames, it started in April 2015 thanks to Sport Wales Calls4Action funding.
“Us Girls aimed to make the programme sustainable by helping community sport and youth institutions make female sports participation a routine part of their core work” explains employee Paul Roberts.
In just two years, the programme has offered 26 lead projects totalling 45 hours per week across the country. Over 3,000Us Girls sessions have been delivered in the community – many of which are in Communities First areas of deprivation.
They follow the principles of the StreetGames Doorstep Sport model, making sure that activity is delivered by the right people, in the right style, at the right place and time.
Bringing sport TO the girls has seen a massive impact, with lots of success stories. Over 5,600 new ‘hard to reach’ females participated in the project, which included older girls mentoring younger girls, through the Big Sister scheme. There have also been 48 Us Girls events in its two-year history – including an Us Girls Rocks festival!
Those who take part are at the heart of the decision-making process for Us Girls, with lots of consultation.
“It was devised in consultation with the participants at every stage either through chats, at pamper sessions, coffee mornings or using technology” says Paul.
Thanks to partner work, the way in which organisations appeal to girls when it comes to sport is changing for the better.
One example of this is the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wales
“After embracing the Us Girls programme, our traditionally male-dominated demographic has shifted to a 2:1 female:male ratio among participants in North Wales” says Grant Poiner, their National Development Officer.
“We would not be where we are now, in terms of female participation, without the partnership with StreetGames and the learning and support of the Us Girls programme” he adds.