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  • 11 March 2014 00:00
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Project 500 looking to boost women's sport by creating more female coaches

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Project 500, a campaign from seven County Sport Partnerships (CSPs) across the South East region, is continuing to work to help boost women’s participation in sport just over one year after launching by creating more female leaders. 

Project 500 looks to address the imbalance in the number of male to female coaches in order to create a more diverse workforce that will drive the growth of female participation in sport. 

It was launched last year on International Women’s Day (March 8th, 2013) in recognition of the increasingly powerful role that females have played and continue to play in society across the globe.

The initiative was devised by Sport Hampshire & IOW (SHIOW) alongside Oxfordshire Sport Partnership, Bucks and MK Sport, Get Berkshire Active, Active Surrey, Active Sussex and Kent Sport and Physical Activity Service.

It will see a combined five hundred female coaches recruited, developed and deployed across the seven South East counties between April 2013 and March 2015.

It is hoped that National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) of Sport will link their programmes to the project to develop a workforce which better reflects the demographics of local communities who want to engage in sport and physical activity and in turn jump-start the creation of a women’s coaching network in the UK.

So far England Netball, England Handball, The FA, Rugby Football Union (RFU), the English Cricket Board (ECB), British Cycling and the Exercise and Dance Partnership are the first six NGB’s to fully endorse the project.

"It’s a real privilege for England Handball to have been approached to be a part of Project 500 and to have been involved right from its inception,” said England Handball Coaching Development Manager Liam McCarthy.

"It is our belief that not enough is being done to engage young women and girls in coaching and leadership pathways in England so it’s an honour to be working with a special group of people who want to change that.”

The seven CSPs across South East region will deliver the project supported by a number of national sports organisations including Sport England, sports coach UK and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF).

"In the UK Women are twice as likely as men to receive coaching, but only 33 per cent of our nation’s coaches are women with only 37 per cent of these having coaching qualifications,” said the project’s creator CJ Lee, who is the Coaching Development Manager from Sport Hampshire and IOW. 

"If we are to deliver on Seb Coe’s promise to inspire a generation we must recruit, support and retain more females in coaching and leadership roles. 

"With only one in five women doing enough physical activity to stay healthy in the UK, we must get more girls and women to feel like sport and physical activity can offer them something which will actively improve their quality of life and wellbeing.”

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