Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) has become one of 13 professional football clubs to tackle physical inactivity of girls in disadvantaged areas across London.
Funded by The London Marathon Charitable Trust (LMCT), CACT will join the likes of Arsenal, Brentford and Chelsea to encourage 5,000 inactive girls and young women to participate in football and physical activity sessions.
The London Marathon Charitable Trust have awarded £820,000 to London United, a conglomerate of 14 professional football clubs that tackles social challenges in the capital.
With rising levels of youth violence increasingly affecting girls and young women, the project – called Kicks Girls – aims to offer a safe space for teenagers to enjoy sport. Along with physical activity sessions, the project will also offer a series of educational workshops and qualifications for teenage girls living in London.
Funding aims to increase the number of girls aged 8-17 on CACT’s Kicks programme, to help overcome barriers to female participation.
Increasing female participation has been a priority across CACT’s seven strands.
After identifying a female participation gap, the Young Greenwich youth service CACT delivers on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, increased its engagement figures for females from 28% to 52%.
CACT also plans to make use of its strong links with Charlton Athletic Women to inspire young women.
Kim Dixson, who delivers CACT’s Kicks Girls sessions, is a former Captain of Charlton Athletic Women and now Assistant First-Team Coach.
Katie Startup, a Charlton Athletic Women player, is a regular visitor to Kicks sessions and equally passionate about helping young females overcome sports participation challenges.
“We’re pleased to be able to deliver this project to help young girls in the community and inspire girls to participate in sport. We’ve had support from women’s players this year, which has been vital, and we’re looking forward to this continuing throughout our work.”
Sarah Ridley, Chief Grants Officer of The London Marathon Charitable Trust, said:
“We are delighted to have awarded £820,000 towards this terrific project, which is synonymous with LMCT’s vision to inspire activity. Our mission is to enable people to become and remain physically active regardless of gender or background.
"We’re passionate about getting more women involved in a wide range of physical activity and look forward to seeing the positive impact this programme will have on girls across London over the coming years.
With a multitude of Premier League and EFL clubs in London taking part in the initiative, the project will utilise the clubs’ female players to inspire thousands of girls to enjoy physical activity.