A striking squad of influential Merseyside women have teamed-up to support a brand-new football tournament to give girls hope and aspiration for the future.
Everyone from champion boxer Tasha Jonas to Everton player Danielle “Dan” Turner, are encouraging girls to take part in She Inspires, where they can make the most of their sporting abilities on the pitch, whilst also completing recognised qualifications.
The competition is the creation of Merseyside’s first woman Chief Constable Serena Kennedy and Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell.
The Chief Constable said: “I’m incredibly excited for the start of the ‘She Inspires’ tournament and looking forward to seeing the progress these talented young women make on and off the pitch. I’m proud to be able to support initiatives like this one that give more opportunities to young people in our communities.’
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “I’m thrilled this fantastic initiative designed to engage and inspire hundreds of young women in communities right across Merseyside is about to kick-off. Our goal is to give them a brilliant sporting opportunity, while also helping them to develop vital life skills and gain qualifications which will help them progress in life and reach their full potential.”
Detective Superintendent Siobhan Gainer, Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership added: “Women’s football is at the height of its popularity now and it is great to see that it is now the leading participation sport for women with 2.5 million registered players. Most people in this city, and Merseyside as a whole, have grown up with football and have a passion that is unrivalled. It’s this passion for the game that will help us to work with young girls from disadvantaged areas and provide them with hope and aspirations, which they may not have had previously.”
The competition has plenty of kudos thanks to the involvement of the LFC Foundation and Everton in the Community.
Sue Gregory, Everton in the Community’s Director of Youth Engagement, Employability and Sports Development commented: “Providing easy access routes and opportunities for women to take part in sport is vital in continuing to break down those barriers which have previously thwarted girls in taking part in sport in the past.
“We’re delighted to join forces with a number of key figures in Merseyside to deliver ‘She Inspires’ to collaborate and unite in one common goal – to inspire the next generation of females in our region.
“As well as helping to alleviate mental and physical health risk factors, sport can play a starring role in helping us to develop important life skills such as teamwork, resilience and leadership, all of which we can take into our everyday lives.”
Matt Parish, chief executive, Liverpool FC Foundation, said: “The LFC Foundation is proud to be supporting the ‘She Inspires’ initiative, which will provide local young women with the opportunity to take part in a fun and competitive football tournament with other likeminded youngsters as well as chance to gain qualifications or progress on to further education.
“In collaboration with the Chief Constable, the PCC, the Violence Reduction Partnership, Liverpool County FA, and Everton in the Community, we will deliver tailored football sessions at 12 community sites across Merseyside. These accessible sessions will combine practical on the pitch skills with fully funded educational courses in refereeing and coaching, as well as presenting pathway routes into further education.
“It’s really important that local young women who aspire to have a career in sport, have access to a range of opportunities that will help them to develop and equip them with the skills they need progress into education, participation and employment.”
Training on the pitch leading to accredited FA qualifications will be matched by the chance to gain better qualifications off it, due to the involvement of the Fowler Education & Football Academy.
The premier She Inspires supporters also includes the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and the Liverpool City Football Association and of course, has instrumental role models from business, the emergency services, politics, and public life behind it. Aside from playing skills, there will also be an accredited refereeing course for those passionate about officiating.
The She Inspires programme begins on Monday 2 May across Merseyside locations.
The final will be staged on Sunday 3 July at the Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields in Aintree.
To register for the tournament, email Anna.Farrell@liverpoolfa.com