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3 Sep

Harehills girls-only sessions get Chance to Shine

This summer, the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) have worked with Junior Sports Hubs (JSH) and Leeds City Council to provide opportunities for girls to take part in cricket and aided them in securing new funds to allow the sessions to continue for another 2 and a half years.

Initially a 6 week girls-only summer camp at Harehills primary, the sessions have now received Chance to Shine Street funding to continue for another 2 and a half years.

The sessions were initially for both girls and boys but after noticing the lack of girls attending, Junior Sports Hubs did some investigating on how to improve their offer to allow more girls to take part in cricket.

We spoke to Kamran, from Junior Sports Hubs, about the sessions…

Tell us a bit about setting up the sessions

Initially we had setup a sporting hub targeting mixed gender children aged 8-13 from mixed backgrounds but noticed we were getting no girls attending, despite having attracted a lot attention. We managed to get 90 boys registered but 0 girls, so we starting doing some outreach work and discovered that girls were not confident on a mixed environment. We could clearly see the demand for girls wanting to get out and attend, but there was no provision for them. After some investigating, we found that girls wanted to have their own female-only sessions, where they could be more relaxed and enjoy themselves.

We went away and came up with the idea to run something parallel to the boys but for girls only, we also had female-only coaches and staff at the sessions, to encourage girls to attend.

Why Harehills primary?

The location was chosen for a number of reasons, with the main reason being it was enclosed. It had the privacy factor and it was available to book so that they would have the place all to themselves, with no interruptions. The second factor was the familiar venue, it was familiar place for them as a lot of children either attended school there or had attended school. This helped them feel even more confident to take part. This was needed so we could get the girls to attend. During our outreach work, the number 1 factor affecting attendance was whether the sessions were girls-only and enclosed, so this is what we did.

Who were the key partners involved?

The program during the summer holidays we held were initially to be delivered by Junior Sports Hub, to allow the girls to get involved in physical activities. The venue was funded by Leeds City Council.

YCF were involved, they gave us a great opportunity to help deliver cricket, they provided the coaches, equipment and promotion.Some of the funding also came from local businesses within the area, the donations are used to serve drinks and snacks.

When were the sessions ran?

The sessions ran throughout the summer holidays, every Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3pm.

Initially we started of with 8 girls, and the highest number attend was 17. There has been a real interest in the sessions, we have seen the numbers grow over the weeks.

What has been the impact of the girls-only sessions?

The service we provided is unique within itself. There is no other provision within the local area that provides a girls-only sporting hub.

Therefore, a lot of the girls were staying at home and not able to engage with friends and socialise. So the sessions were great for both physical and mental health. We have been able to provide a place for them to see existing friends and make new friends, become more active and leading healthier life styles.
The main thing for us was for them to enjoy and have fun in a comfortable setting where parents at the same time are aware that they are safe.

Whatsmore, we found that South Asian girls in particular are less likely to take part in sport, so we have helped tackle some of the barrier they face; the main focus on this was having a female-only coach and the really enclosed environment.

What’s next for the sessions?

Now we have secured the street chance funding, we plan to carry on improving the sessions and reach more and more girls from different backgrounds.

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