At Chelsea FC Foundation, we are committed to creating a safe and inclusive space for young people to enjoy the benefits of exercise and achieve their potential. The Female Kicks programme is an important part of our programme to engage more young women and girls in sport and to provide the same opportunities that are often taken for granted for male players.
The Premier League Kicks sessions have been created with this in mind and strive to provide a safe space for females to keep fit and meet other like-minded participants, which can be especially challenging during the darker, winter months.
Under current restrictions, outdoor exercise is one of the few leisure activities we can do right now and getting outside to exercise is essential to our physical and mental wellbeing.
A new report by Plan International UK, our global charity partner, has revealed the impact of street harassment on the lives of young women and girls in the UK. The new figures reveal over half (51 per cent) of young women and girls have experienced public sexual harassment since June, and a quarter feel unsafe exercising outside alone.
Female engagement coordinator Tyra Mills, who was a participant in the Kicks programme before achieving her coaching qualification, said: ‘In society today, there is still a gap between girls and boys taking part in physical activities.
'Personally speaking, exercising in public where there is a limited number of females was always daunting. That’s why it’s so great that we are able to offer the Female Kicks programme and introduce safe spaces for girls to exercise.
'Through the football sessions, I was able to learn important life skills from the coaches alongside a love of the game. Now as a coach, it’s been great to see the participants grow in confidence, build self-esteem, and meet new friends.’
Plan International UK is committed to listening to girls’ voices in our society and has launched its #CrimeNotCompliment campaign to help make public spaces safe for girls. Plan is asking members of the public to join the campaign and show MPs that it’s time to make public sexual harassment a crime. Let’s make this the generation to end street harassment: Click here to find out more.