Coaching in the UK

Reach funded pilot projects bring success to hundreds

Tue, 31 May 2016

Over the last six months, seven pilot projects supported by sports coach UK’s Reach campaign have been delivered by County Sport Partnerships (CSPs). Between October 2015 and March 2016 13 CSPs provided opportunities to more than 300 women to lead physical activity within their local community. This has led to hundreds of women, many of them previously inactive, getting off their sofas and getting more active.

Funded by Sport England, the projects were invited to explore new and innovative approaches to attracting participants, potential new activators and coaches from women not currently involved in exercise or sport. The CSPs approached a range of businesses, venues and groups frequented by women. These include local women’s centres, hairdressers, faith organisations and the school gates, with activities ranging from walking and running groups to dance and self-defence.

The pilot projects were set up by Leicestershire & Rutland Sport, GreaterSport, Active Devon, South and West Yorkshire Sport, Team Beds & Luton, and the South East CSP collaboration Project 500, with just under £150,000 of funding from Sport England. With ongoing support from sports coach UK which included remote and face to face events that provided guidance and an opportunity to share learning with each other, these projects will continue into 2017 and no doubt have an even wider impact.

sports coach UK Chair Gillian Wilmot said:
“These innovative and exciting projects have shown us how to tap into harder to reach groups and engage women who can influence their communities to adopt healthier and more active lifestyles. We’re redefining what it means to be a sports ‘coach’. Many of these potential new activity leaders would never have imagined they could take on this role but, with mentoring and support to access training, they can become highly effective advocates and facilitators.”

Stephanie Maurel, Strategic Lead Club and Workforce, Sport England, said: 
“The success of our This Girl Can campaign has shown the enormous potential for getting more women into sport and activity. We know that many people need a friendly nudge to get involved, and that’s why these projects to encourage more women leaders, activators and coaches are so important. If as a nation we are committed to inspiring women to lead active and healthy lives, then having enough coaches at all levels is critical to achieving this."

Reach has created a series of resources available to all which provide advice drawn from these projects. The initiative is also launching a series of articles to highlight the learning, covering topics such as the use of social media, engaging with Muslim women and engaging women in coaching.

For help in setting up a similar project access the partner section of our website: or email [email protected].

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