Tuesday 24 March 2015

Women and girls across Sheffield are being encouraged to move, shake, wiggle and groove in new sessions being promoted as part of Sport England’s “This Girl Can” campaign.

The campaign, which is being run locally as Sheffield Girls Can, aims to address the persistent gender gap, which means that more men play sport than women at every age.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, fit or unfit.

“Sheffield Girls Can reinforces the message that physical activity is great for everyone, regardless of ability, and girls and women shouldn’t let fear of judgement put us off. It’s about looking after ourselves and improving our health and wellbeing.

“Sheffield’s award-winning sporting facilities are also the perfect venues in which to try out activities for the first time and make that first step to being more active. Try it and see!”

Coun Bowler and her 13-year-old daughter, Mary Taylor, attended a netball taster session last week, to sample the new Sheffield Girls Can sessions for themselves.

The sessions, which are free to attend and are specifically aimed at women who may not have played netball in years or even decades, take place at:

  • Hillsborough College on Mondays from 7pm to 8.40pm
  • Outwood Grange Academy on Tuesday nights from 7pm to 8pm
  • King Edward’s Sports Centre on Tuesdays from 6.15pm to 7pm

Women who enjoy the sessions can then progress to playing in the netball leagues which are established in the city. Match Night organises games at the Goals sports centre in Norfolk Park Road on a Wednesday evening, which are designed for women of all ages and abilities.

David McEwan of Match Night, said: “The sessions are designed so that people can just turn up and play – we put them into teams with people of similar abilities, so there’s no pressure to find a group of people to play with.

“I’ve been blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of the women who have been coming to these sessions. They appeal to people coming back to netball after a number of years, who may not have played since school but remember it being a fun way to keep fit.

“Netball is also something people tend to stick with – they may not be able to commit to going to the gym regularly, but they can commit to a weekly session, after work, with a group of friendly and sociable women.”

Linda Wood of the Hallam Hustlers team said: “While my efforts at Zumba, Insanity, the gym and so on, have all disappeared, my love of netball has endured them all.

“It can be as fun and carefree as you want it to be, meaning it doesn’t feel like exercise, whilst still being the best workout ever.”

Laura Carnall, who plays for the North Stars, added: “I stopped playing netball when I left school at 16. At 26 I heard about a league in Sheffield and answered an ad placed by a captain at the time.

“Although a little apprehensive about not playing for 10 years and meeting new people I shouldn’t have worried. Everyone is really friendly, I’ve made a lot of new friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise and we often now socialise together.

“And the leagues have various players of all different skill levels so I was never made to feel inferior to other players. I wouldn’t be without netball now.”

Emma Wood, from the Doncaster Diamonds, said: “We wanted to join a league where everything was provided for us so the Match Night netball league was a good find.

“Playing in a league gives you motivation and increases your confidence. You may not always win but if the match is played in the spirit of the game then it’s a brilliant sport to participate in.”

For further details of all activities running in Sheffield under the This Girl Can banner, visit the website at http://www.movemoresheffield.com/

Classes available are hugely varied and include basketball, boxing, climbing, cycling, health and fitness sessions, netball and swimming.

The Sheffield Girls Can campaign also includes bus, tram, poster and social media advertising across the city.





  • For out of hours media enquiries please ring 07711 153995.