Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fitness: Us Girls, Show your support!

 



Today I’m going to talk about a subject and an organisation that is close to my heart. If you know me or have been reading my blog for a while you will know that sport and getting women and girl involved in exercise is something very close to my heart.

We all know from the facts that less young women and girls take part in exercise compared to men. In 2011 British Heart Foundation conducted research that found only 52% of 16-25 females took part in the recommend amount of exercise compared to the 83% of men. The stats alone are shocking that why I got involved with Us girls,a national programme designed by StreetGames to increase and sustain young women's participation in sport, fitness and exercise in some of the nation’s most disadvantaged communities.


Us Girls main target audience is women and girls from deprived areas of the community, I’ve lived in Benwell which is one of Newcastles most deprived areas for around 18 years and sport was the one thing that kept me off the streets as a young teenager. So you can imagine what I thought when this program was launched in Newcastle. I first got involved by going along to a multi-sport session at my local sport centre, the session was £1 and everyone was there to have fun which is what made me go back every week. Now I help run the Newcastle College Us Girls program that has around 30-40 young women involved in sport at least once a week with many of them doing 2 or 3 different sessions a week.


Us Girls uses the key message #funfitnessfriends to eliminate some of the barriers that stop local young women from taking part in sport in their community.

The way that Us girls has done that is by doing female-only sessions, using lifestyle role models, reward schemes, wellbeing and confidence inspiring activities, opportunities to lead and attend Us Girls Rocks festivals and events (These events are great btw).

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In the last 12 months Us Girls have got over 65,000 females engaged in the programme. These hubs will be places for young women and girls to be able to get the most out of the Us Girls program by encouraging collaboration between Us Girls projects and local activity providers so the benefits can be spread to as many young women and girsl as possible.
Us Girls is up for nomination in the National Inspiring Initiative by Women’s Sports Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards 2016. These awards are to raise the visibility and increasing the impact of women’s sport. Us Girls are up against two strong projects: Aviva Women's Tour and Park Run UK.

Below you can read about how one young ladies story about how Us Girls has helped her.


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Michelle Monk from Cowgate (Newcastle) has been able to learn first-hand what Us Girls can do for young women in Newcastle. Michelle was already a keen footballer and got some sporting qualification through her local college. Michelle decided to do some volunteering for her local sporting project Hat-trick and then got involved with the Newcastle Us Girls Hub. I asked Michelle a few question about Us Girls so you can read about how it’s benefited her.


Q. Michelle, why did you first get involved with Us Girls?
I found that there weren’t many girls groups in my local area and when I found out that there was one I knew, this was a chance to join something new. I also wanted to meet new people and build some new relationships with other people that had the same interests as me.
 
Q. What’s the main reason why you go to your local Us Girls project?
 One of the main reasons why I go to the Us Girls project is because I wanted to increase my wellbeing and do this somewhere where I knew that I wouldn’t get judged. Keeping fit and doing sports that I love was another reason for going along and with the incentive scheme you get rewarded for going along to sessions which is an another bonus.

Q. What have been the best benefits to come out of being involved in your local Us Girls project?
 While going along to Us Girls I have not just built up my confidence, my self-esteem has improved as well. I’ve made new relationships with other like-minded young women and I’ve become an Us Girls Ambassador which involves me helping engage other young women to participate in sport and exercise.

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 As you can tell from Michelle Monk’s story that Us Girls is not only about getting young women and girls involved in sport it’s about their wellbeing and helping them to interact with other young people without judgement. Many young women and girls like Michelle would be missing out on opportunities to get involved in sport if it wasn’t for the Us Girls projects around the country.

 Like I said earlier Us Girls is up for National Inspiring Initiative by Women’s Sports Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards 2016. Us Girls works with thousands of young women and girls and from reading about Michelle’s story about how Us Girls has helped her you can see the work that they do is important to many young women and girls in the UK.

 Voting Closes at midnight on the Sunday 1st May and I would love if you could help by using the link below to vote.
Here is the link http://bit.ly/20Piwt2 

Hope that this gives you a little bit of insight in the types of organisation that work in the North East and are trying to help increase participation of young girls and women. I've left all the different social media pages that the Us Girls have so you can see what work there doing across the country for yourself.

Us Girls Facebook/ Us Girls Twitter / Us Girls Website


Photography was by Debbie Cable, check out her website here
 
Why not leave a comment of what your favourite sport or do you wish you had been involved with an organisation like this?

I hope to hear from you soon

Love Melissa xx






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