Preston North End brought the curtain down on the second year of their PL Girls Programme in style with an end of year celebration tournament at Ashton High Community Science College.
High school girls graced the 3G pitches throughout the day to represent their respected school on an occasion which celebrated the successful delivery of the Preston North End PL Girls Programme this year.
Fulwood Academy, Bishop Rawstorne, Broughton High and Our Lady’s Catholic High School joined Ashton High to participate in the tournament where females from Years seven up to Year ten got involved.
The tournament spoke volumes of the impact the PL Girls Programme is having on students as emphasised by Seline from Ashton High who – as well as taking part in the tournament - has also been a keen participant in the PL Girls football sessions delivered by North End every week.
“I’ve improved my confidence when it comes to speaking to others, especially those that are older than me in the years above,” said Seline on the impact the PL Girls Programme is making on her.
“My favourite part of the sessions are the matches as there’s a big variety of things that we do like football rounders - I enjoy football, especially when it gets competitive.”
Whilst also hosting football sessions at high schools across Preston to allow females more access to structured football sessions, the programme also seeks to improve and mentor the teachers who may not necessarily be as clued up when it comes to football, as Inclusion Manager and lead for the PL Girls programme Mel Brown went on to explain.
“There’s been a real conscious effort on the mentoring side of teachers and young people,” said Mel who spoke with pride during the end of year tournament.
“Rather than just come into a school and put on a couple of sessions, we’ve made sure there was a teacher with us when doing the session to talk them through delivering a successful football session.”
Mel continued: “All of the individuals are different, there’s good players, there’s beginners, those with social issues and others with confidence issues and we’ll work with the teacher to get the best out of them and that’s usually through football.
“The teacher who may not have had much experience in football can now take what they’ve learned from the after school session into their PE lessons, which is a nice little cycle of football getting introduced into the game.”
One teacher in particular who is being mentored courtesy of the programme is Miss Grove from Ashton High.
A PE teacher who specialises in hockey and netball by trade, Miss Grove spoke about how she is really benefitting from the advice and skills Preston North End coaches present to her.
She said: “I’m not a footballer, but I’ve been able to see different things you can do and I then can adapt the delivery to my classes and feel more confident to teach football and encourage the girls to play. A lot will say it’s a boys sport and we can’t do that so they can use me as a role model, if I can do it - so can you!”