Banbridge students celebrate getting more girls active at inspiration day

The Girls Active Inspiration Day has returned for its fourth year in Northern Ireland to grow a budding network of girls who are inspired to become role models and leaders - encouraging their peers to become more physically active.

Girl's Active Inspirational Day, Craigavon Leisure Centre, 28th November 2019. St Patrick's College, Banbridge. ©Edward Byrne Photography
Girl's Active Inspirational Day, Craigavon Leisure Centre, 28th November 2019. St Patrick's College, Banbridge. ©Edward Byrne Photography

Students from schools in Banbridge attended the Inspiration Day to celebrate their achievements over the last year.

Girls Active is an award-winning programme developed by children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust. Thanks to continued funding from the Department for Communities through Sport Northern Ireland as part of the ‘Active Fit and Sporty’ project, the programme is now being delivered in partnership with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council across 35 post primary schools. To date the programme has successfully engaged over 4,000 girls, improving attitudes towards PE and physical activity so girls can lead more physically active lifestyles.

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Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “This is the fourth year we have run the Girls Active Inspiration Day in Northern Ireland. I am thrilled with how the programme has evolved since its inception, and that we are supporting more than 4,000 girls through 35 post primary schools.

“Through six key principles of engagement, using the power of friendship, and developing girls’ leadership skills they are able to engage their peers and increase physical activity levels. Girls need to be empowered through involving them in the design and delivery of PE and physical activity, and only by doing this can we change the game and get girls active. Creating this kind of opportunity wouldn’t be possible without the support and funding from our partners, and I would like to thank them for their support and belief in this programme.”

Sport Northern Ireland Chief Executive Officer Antoinette McKeown said: “Sport Northern Ireland is proud to be supporting the Girls Active programme as part of the Active Fit Sporty project, funded by Department for Communities.

“It is vital that girls benefit from the power of sport to enrich and transform their lives. The dropout rate amongst girls and women from sport is well documented, and this initiative is so important to ensure girls are empowered with the skills, in the design and delivery of activities that lead to improved and sustained participation.”

The Inspiration Day, which took place on 28 November, empowered and inspired a network of girls to take part in more PE and physical activity and have the skills and confidence to engage their peers on returning to school.

The girls took part in a range of workshops focusing on leadership, marketing, mentoring and action planning to better prepare them for their role as Girls Active Leaders. They also participated in team building exercises and activities such as boxercise and dance to develop the skills needed to work with others.

The Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Councillor Mealla Campbell, commented: “The Girls Active programme has been a fantastic success across the Borough, and I am delighted to see the programme continue to build into its fourth year to engage more girls to become physically active. The development of girls as leaders and as positive role models will have a genuine and significant impact both on themselves, and the girls that they will encourage to become more active.”

Alderman James Tinsley, Leisure & Community Wellbeing Committee Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, commented: “Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council are delighted to continue working in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and it’s award winning Girls Active programme. I would like to thank those Lisburn and Castlereagh schools for committing to the third year of the programme in the LCCC area. Young females are underrepresented in sport and physical activity and the impact this programme has had in its three years in changing the culture of PE within schools and its inclusion in the Lisburn & Castlereagh Community Plan has helped address this imbalance by actively consulting with girls and engaging them in the design and delivery of their preferred activities. The Council are very supportive of this initiative which sees a network of Girls Active Leaders developed to encourage their peers to become more active using the power of friendship to drive progress. We wish all girls involved every success on their journey.”

As a result, the girls will now act as role models and leaders within their school setting with the skills and confidence to encourage other girls to become more active through improved marketing and the delivery of new activities which appeal to a wider range of girls.

For more information visit www.youthsporttrust.org/girls-active-northern-ireland