Torquay United Community Sports Trust

Improving Football Opportunities for Girls & Young Women

The Girls Football project at Torquay United Community Sports Trust has grown notably during the 2018/19 season and ‘Girls United’ has been the driving force behind much of the positive work they have undertaken, in giving girls and young women a variety of opportunities.

The specific target group for our ‘Girls United’ project was the 11-19 age group, as this had been identified nationally as an age group with a high drop-out rates in organised physical activity and sport. The aim, through the power of football, was to increase the number of girls and young women over the age of 11 regularly partaking in football-based activities.

It has been identified, through the club’s extensive local knowledge and communication with relevant parties (such as secondary schools and Devon FA), that there was a clear lack of quality football opportunities throughout Torbay and South Devon for this age group.

The importance of offering ‘high-quality’ sessions was key to this project, utilising experienced and knowledgeable coaches and female role-models where possible. The importance of the lead coaches in being able to engage with the participants and build a rapport was paramount.

Torquay United Community Sports Trust already had many well-established partnerships with several primary schools throughout Torbay and South Devon, and through the ‘Girls United’ project, they aimed to build new and positive partnerships with local secondary schools that could ultimately benefit both the Trust and the children within the school.

‘Girls United’ has aided Torquay United Community Sports Trust in their wider target of establishing clear pathways for girls and women in football. Their ultimate goal is to provide high-quality provision for all female participants, so that they can begin their football journey at three years of age, and then stay with the club until they are teenagers, when they will potentially have opportunities to train and play for the Torquay United Ladies team, or continue to attend the ‘drop and play’ type community sessions.

What does winning this award mean to the CCO?

Torquay United Community Sports Trust are absolutely delighted to win the Best Equality Project award. We have invested a significant amount of time and resource into developing our Girls Football provision and working specifically with the secondary school age group. We have been delighted with the level of engagement achieved and successful outcomes we have been able to
accomplish through working with the range of female participants.

Family Impact

Since attending the Girls United sessions on a regular basis, I have watched my daughter flourish, her confidence and self-esteem have made a return, and since attending she has been given so many wonderful opportunities like attending Torquay United matches, meeting some of the players and having the opportunity now of attending a work experience placement with Torquay United Community Sports Trust, which she is really looking forward to. Her outlook towards her school work has changed and she is determined to make something of herself whilst doing a sport that she has been highly passionate about but also being lucky enough to be part of this wonderful club. I cannot thank Jamie McInnes and the other staff Community Sports Trust staff enough for giving her this amazing opportunity and giving Ebony a new lease of life.

I am delighted to hear that Torquay United Community Sports Trust have been recognised by the National League Trust for their amazing work in delivering their ‘Girls United’ project. It has made a significant positive impact upon my own daughter and many other young girls across Torbay and South Devon.

Sharon Salomone (mother of Ebony Salomone – attendee to KEVICC After School Club and Girls Session)

How the £5000 prize money will help

We plan to utilise the £5,000 in sustaining our expansive Girls Football provision that has grown significantly over the last year. Also, as a reward for all the participants and partners efforts during the project, we have arranged a celebration event where a large group with attend the England v Germany Ladies friendly match at Wembley Stadium in November.