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PNE Play Their Part For Girls' Football Week

16 October 2016

Over 500 participants and seven days later, Preston North End have certainly made the most of this year's second FA Girls' Football Week.

Hundreds of females from across Preston have been encouraged to play football this week as part of the seven-day long initiative with PNE continuing to show its commitment to increasing the participation rates of females playing football throughout the area.

Central to these objectives is PNE Community and Education Trust's Inclusion Manager Mel Brown who's been out and about this week delivering football which is structured yet enjoyable to all its participants.

"Each day, we've spent time at a different school to make sure as many girls benefit from our services as possible," told Mel to PNE.Com following the conclusion of the national week of action. 

"We started the week off at Ashton Community Science College; Tuesday we spent time at St Cecilia's High School, whilst Wednesday saw us pay Carr Hill High School a visit.

"Thursday, we spent time at UCLan encouraging students to get involved in football and we ended the week at Penwortham Priory High School.

"All of the feedback has been positive and a key reason as to why that is, is that we ensure our sessions are tailored to the group. For example, if the group aren't motivated in playing football at the start or they've not got that
much experience, we'll begin with something they do recognise yet incorporate football into it, such as playing tig or rounders so they can enjoy the game.

"We have to make sure everybody is enjoying it so that we can continue to promote the women's game in the city."

It's not just those participating in the session who are reaping the benefits of the sessions put on by Mel and her team.

Hannah Ely and Chloe Humphrey are both currently studying a PGCE at their respected Universities; both are currently enjoying a work placement at St Cecilia's and both were watching the sessions with great interest.

"We've been spending the day watching Mel's sessions and getting ideas on how to deliver girls football because I've never delivered it before so I have no idea what to do. It's better than just reading it off a text book," said Hannah.

Chloe added: "Our programme goes on to deliver football after half-term and Mel's given us lots of different ideas with what we can do with different abilities and it's given us a lot more ideas."

Preston North End Community and Education Trust has been acknowledged for their work with Women and Girls' football after being nominated for Community Initiative of the Year at this year's MBNA North West Football Awards.

A pivotal factor to the success has been down to the co-operation of schools who have allowed PNE into their facilities to help deliver fun and engaging sessions for all.

Nigel Taylor, a PE teacher at St Cecilia's said: "Having coaches from the local football club coming in to our school gives the session that bit more of a significance and gives girls the opportunity to play football all day.

"All the girls that have taken part have all enjoyed it and I think that will show when North End are back in on Thursday to do their weekly coaching sessions.

"We've got a handful of girls who have had some experience of playing football and those who have barely kicked a ball who have enjoyed it. The sessions have all been pitched so everybody can be included."

To mark Girls' Football Week, Carr Hill High School were treated to a visit from Liverpool Ladies and WSL goalkeeper Danielle Gibbons, an embodiment of an exit route within female football that girls who were attending were able to aspire to.

"Ultimately, it's all about being on a field and playing with their mates," told Danielle on how services like Preston North End are helping to develop women's football.

"That's the same with any sport whether that be netball or football it's all about enjoyment especially at this age and I think a lot of them don't understand how much they will enjoy it unless they get involved.

"It's important that clubs in the local area such as Preston North End are leaders in developing and promoting football because that's ultimately where they're going to go so it's important that we entice kids into playing the game from a young age.

"It's getting rid of that stigma for the girls. I think some of them are told by some people that girls shouldn't play football so the more activities like this we can do, the more we can change the stigma of the sport."

No matter what age or ability, Preston North End are always encouraging females to get involved in playing football.

If you'd like to find out more about the opportunities we offer for women's football, whether that be taking part in the sessions we host, or sign-posting you to a team, we are always happy to help.

To get in touch, contact Preston North End Community and Education Trust on 01772 693309 or email community@pne.com.


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