25th – 31st October 2021 marked the fifth anniversary of Scottish Women and Girls in Sports Week, an annual opportunity to celebrate the participation of women and girls in sport. This year’s theme focused on how sport and physical activity can support women’s health and wellbeing, helping them to create healthy habits for life.
So many CashBack partners encourage girls to participate in physical activity through their programmes and we’re always inspired to see participants growing in confidence, making new friends and enjoying the myriad physical and mental health benefits of sport.
Throughout Scottish Women and Girls in Sports Week 2021, our partners took to social media, highlighting how more girls than ever are embracing sport through CashBack programmes.
Scottish Football Association helped Larbert High School introduce an All Girls programme for the very first time, with more girls finding a love for the sport through the Girls School of Football programme. Nicola Milne, PE teacher at Larbert High School, said:
“The Girls School of Football has been very exciting in terms of providing girls with opportunities to develop their confidence physically and socially through the medium of football.
Focusing on performance, as well as other aspects such as confidence, leadership, social skills and responsibility have given those involved other opportunities to learn skills for learning, life and work.”
While many girls are enjoying football as their sport of choice, others are taking up rugby through the CashBack School of Rugby programme. Kelpies Rugby, a partnership of youth rugby clubs in Central Scotland, shared the incredible uptake of girls joining as a result of participating in rugby through the CashBack School of Rugby programme at Falkirk High School. In 2021, the number of girls joining Kelpies Rugby between August and November outweighed the number of boys by fourteen to five! Paul Morgan, Kelpies Rugby President, said:
“Kelpies Rugby was established to provide an accessible route to rugby for children in Central Scotland. Players who have joined as a result of being introduced to rugby by the Falkirk High School of Rugby have helped sustain Kelpies Rugby, with a growing number of players joining each year. In particular, our girls’ section would not exist without Falkirk High players.”
The girls who take part enjoy the physicality of the sport as well as the opportunity to have fun with their friends. S1 pupil Ella said, “my friends from the School of Rugby told me it was really good, so I came along and I had so much fun.” S2 pupil Taiya said, “I wanted to move to the Kelpies for more experience. I am enjoying it a lot because we get to do full contact, which is my favourite part of rugby.”
Taking part in sport can help girls have fun, become fitter, grow skills and make new friends. It can also be a lifeline for girls who are going through a difficult time.
S5 School of Rugby participant Kayla* first joined the programme when she was in S2. She hadn’t played rugby before and was quite apprehensive at first, but she quickly made new friends and developed newfound confidence. Before joining, Kayla had struggled with anger issues and had difficulty controlling her temper at times, which resulted in her getting into fights. She partly attributed this to her experience of domestic abuse at home.
Rugby helped give Kayla an outlet for her anger and helped her to develop more positive behaviours. She learned a lot about respect and now feels more able to take constructive criticism from her coaches and teachers without getting angry. She said, “rugby set me straight.. I put my anger into playing the sport right.”
Through sport, girls and women can find the confidence to overcome challenges, which is something they can carry with them throughout their lives. We’re proud of the incredible work our partners do to encourage girls to take part in sport and we will continue to celebrate the amazing girls and women who participate in sport across our CashBack programmes.