Cash fund to get more East End women into sport

MORE than a quarter of a million pounds will be used to get more women playing sports in the East End.

The cash will be used to reach out to women from disadvantaged communities and those caring for children as part of the Olympic 2012 legacy of mass participation.

The council run Sports4Women programme, one of 20 projects benefitting from Sport England’s �10m Active Women fund, aims to get 1,400 local women more active over the next three years.

Michelle Davies, from the council, said: “This is fantastic news for residents in Tower Hamlets. Many mums lead hectic lifestyles and anything we can do to make it easier for them to get fit and active is welcome.”

Sport England said that while the number of women who regularly play sport has increased over the last five years to one in eight they still trail behind men with one in five taking part.

The number drops even further when considering women from disadvantaged backgrounds, with less than one in ten taking part.

The project will tackle the problems in sports often encountered by women – such as cost, childcare commitments, poor transport, lack of women-only facilities and language barriers – to help close the gender gap.

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Along with 22 hours of free, weekly women only sessions in sports such as tennis, basketball and badminton, promotion of local sport club membership and ‘pay and play’ professionally trained sessions, women can also gain coaching qualifications to deliver training themselves.

Supporters of the drive include Badminton star Gail Emms, Olympic silver medalist, World Championship gold medalist and mum to nine-month-old Harry.

She said: “As a new mum, I know only too well how difficult it can be to make time for yourself and to get out there and play sport.

“The projects receiving investment from Sport England today will make a big difference because they’ve really thought through the challenges women face in becoming regular sports participants.”

Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, MP, said: “We have many fantastic female athletes in this country, but not enough women participating at sport’s grassroots.

“More needs to be done to encourage women to participate in sport, particularly those from disadvantaged communities.”