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Getting to the core of activity and sport for females 



A one-day conference focusing on creating a culture where girls’ active participation in PE and sport is the norm


29th June 2022 University of Hertfordshire


Strategies, policies, experiences, real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt, ideas and experiences to be shared.



8.45 – 9.15 Registration and Tea/Coffee


9.15 – 9.30 Welcome and setting the scene

Chair, Svend Elkjaer, Founder/Director, Sports Marketing Network

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Svend Elkjaer is founder and director of the Sports Marketing Network, a leading consultancy and information provider with community sport and physical activity. Being described as ‘a positive disruptor’ Svend has worked across the UK and Denmark with all types of providers and funders helping them to become vibrant, visible and viable.

9.30 – 10.00 Working together on our joint mission to help women everywhere get active and stay active

Kate Dale, Strategic Lead, Campaigns, Sport England

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There’s an 11.5% gap between the number of men and women who strongly agree that sport and physical activity is enjoyable. This Girl Can wants to close that gap, but campaign lead says they can’t do it alone. Join this session to find out how and why This Girl Can is evolving from an ad-led campaign into a people-led movement, why the enjoyment gap is so important and how you can get involved in helping to close it. Former journalist Kate Dale is responsible for This Girl Can, Sport England’s multi-award-winning campaign, which has changed the way milions of women think and feel about exercise and physical activity

Sport England

10.00 – 10.30  Growing female cricket in Scotland

Rosy Ryan, Women and Girls’ Development Manager, Cricket Scotland.

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By creating a dedicated pathway of opportunities in cricket for women and girls, there has been a consistent growth of female participants in all aspects of the sport in Scotland over the past 6 years. This presentation will cover the initiatives, including CricHIIT, that have been used to strengthen the female game by making it more appealing and accessible. CricHIIT is an exercise programme that seeks to overcome the barriers of stereotypical cricket by introducing cricket skills in combination with High Intensity Interval Training. In recognition of the success of the programme, CricHIIT received the International Cricket Council’s Innovation of the Year Award. In addition, Rosy will also discuss how these programmes fit into the wider female cricket pathway, which covers all levels of the sport from softball cricket all the way to performance cricket.

Rosy Ryan has worked at Cricket Scotland since 2016 and during this time, she has implemented several female-specific programmes to engage and attract more women and girls to the game. Rosy is passionate about finding new ways to engage women and girls into sport without following a conventional route.

11.00 – 11.30 Growing girls’ football by increasing club support, sustainable commercialisation, symbiotic sponsorships, and community partnerships

Leah Godfrey, Chairwoman, Capital Girls League

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Leah Godfrey will speak about the state and future of girl’s grassroots football game and community in Greater London from a league and club perspective. She will share insights about the impacts and implications of having its organic growth thwarted by long term marginalisation and underfunding and where it sits in the global life cycle of girl’s football. She will address the barriers current clubs face to grow and excel and collective measures that are ongoing and needed to alleviate them.

Leah will discuss the ever-evolving strategic growth plan of the Capital Girls League (CGL) which focuses on increasing club support, sustainable commercialisation, symbiotic sponsorships, and community partnerships. She will also talk through the current player pathways for more intentional players and how the CGL are working to broaden those opportunities in their pursuit to be a holistic league for the modern baller.

 Leah Godfrey is Chair of the Capital Girls League and Head of Girls & Women at Sporting Duet Academy FC. Leah has over 25 years in experience in business transformation, brand development and engagement, and charity leadership which she now applies to modernising the girl’s and women’s game.

11.30 – 11.50 Tea/Coffee


11.50 – 12.20 Digital Communities: How highly engaged digital communities can become powerful agents for change, empowering women and girls to enjoy the life changing benefits of being active forever

Mel Bound, Founder and CEO, This Mum Runs

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This Mum Runs is the largest digital and in person running community for women in the world, organised through a global network of highly engaged digital communities used to power hyper-local in person communities, and to co-ordinate thousands of free weekly runs for women where they live. On a mission to empower the 1 billion inactive women and girls worldwide,

TMR has developed a unique and highly effective digital community playbook that underpins it’s work; using digital spaces to to recruit, train and manage local community leader volunteers, to launch and rapidly grow local communities, to activate in person runs and coaching, and to co-create insight rich conversations that inform highly impactful programming. Recognised by Facebook as amongst the Top 16 Most Impactful Communities in the world, and with 72% of women in their communities more active now than pre CoVid-19 – theirs is an innovative approach that is working at scale. With plans afoot to develop new communities in the metaverse, and relevant digital spaces for girls and women at every stage of their lives, in this dynamic session the TMR team will share some of their secret sauce to translating engaged communities to scalable growth in participation.

12 .20 – 12.50 Encouraging Rainbows, Brownies and Guides to get active whilst at the same time introducing them to cricket

Rebecca Thomas, Women and Girls Development Officer, Cricket Wales,

Sadie Mansfield, Active Programmes Officer for Girlguiding Cymru

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Rebecca Thomas, Women and Girls Development Officer, Cricket Wales, Sadie Mansfield, Active Programmes Officer for Girlguiding Cymru

Cricket Wales, in collaboration with GirlGuiding Cymru, have launched an initiative to encourage Rainbows, Brownies and Guides to get active whilst at the same time introducing them to cricket. The local Clubs to the units will provide a safe, fun and friendly environment while teaching girls agility and hand eye coordination skills. At the same time building their confidence, and giving them transferrable skills, to take part in sport generally. Through cricket we hope to develop a love of physical activity at a young age that girls can take with them into teenage and adult life. Given the notable drop off in participation in sport by girls at secondary school age this collaboration will hopefully give both younger and older girls the belief that they can try new sports as they transition to high school. The Cricket challenge will allow girls the chance to try something new and make friends, in a fun, sociable and interactive environment.

Sadie Mansfield, Active Programmes Officer for Girlguiding Cymru, providing sporting opportunities for Girlguiding Cymru members. Sadie’s goal, to offer the chance for young girls to try sports they generally aren’t pushed toward. Through girls experiencing these sports in events, challenges, badges and unit/club visits. The challenge booklet in collaboration with Cricket Wales was a great opportunity to continue this.

Rebecca Thomas, W&G Development Officer for SE Wales, has worked for Cricket Wales for the last 5 years developing and promoting opportunities for women and girls to play softball and hardball cricket in their local Clubs. With a background as a Brownie leader this collaboration with GirlGuiding Cymru is a perfect merging of experience and skills offering women and girls the chance to say ‘cricket is a game for me!’

12.50 -14.00 Lunch

Live presentation of This Girl Can Herts
Herts Sports Partnership launched the ‘This Girl Can in Herts 2022′ campaign on International Women’s Day 2022.
They have created a dedicated website for our TGCinHerts Community, where members can access information regarding:
• Monthly Webinars (see below for more details)
• Sports and Health Calendars
• Community Festivals
• TGCinHerts Community Resources
• TGCinHerts Stories

14.00 – 14.30 Lewes FC, where coaching and participation is gender equal

Ellie Ramsauer, Coach, Lewes FC

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Ellie will introduce the audience to Lewes FC’s story, including community ownership, football as a vehicle for social change, and ‘Equality FC’.She will then talk about her experience playing for the club in the Development Squad, what football means to her, and how she managed to stick at it for as long as she has despite her gender.She will discuss her initial experiences as a female coach, and then her current observations.Ellie will then present a short case study of the ‘Rookie Kickers’ programme – where participation is gender equal and sessions are led by 3 female coaches. This will include the set up, the response, the impact, and lessons learnt.

Ellie Ramsauer is a female football coach working with Lewes FC’s Under 14 Girls in the Lewes Development Pathway. She also coaches alongside first team players for ‘The Rookie Kickers’ – a Saturday morning session for 6-13 year old boys and girls. Ellie has also previously played for Lewes FC’s Development Squad and has a degree in Economics and Politics.As well as volunteering for the club with Fan and Community Engagement, Ellie is a supply chain graduate trainee at Kimberley Clark.

14.30 – 15.00 A World Without Men: Why we still need women-only spaces

Laura Fountain, Founder, Lazy Girl Running

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Laura Fountain founded women’s running groups ‘Lazy Girl Running’ in 2013, before the MeToo movement and before This Girl Can. The running landscape was very different – there were few options other than male dominated traditional running club settings.

The decision to exclude men from her first running group session was based on concerns for her own safety, but also from the belief that women train differently when men aren’t around. Over the past 10 years, hundreds of women have attended Lazy Girl Running and have experienced the magic of training in a women-only environment.

Despite an explosion in free running groups and crews, Lazy Girl Running’s paid-for sessions still fill up. In her talk, Laura will explain why.

Laura Fountain is the founder of Lazy Girl Running women’s running groups. Since 2013, Lazy Girl Running has helped hundreds of women start and return to running. Laura is a UK Athletics Coach in Running Fitness and a tutor for England Athletics coaching courses.She writes for Women’s Running magazine as a columnist and coach. She has also written two books ‘The Lazy Runner’ (Pitch, 2012) and ‘Tricurious’ (Summersdale, 2015).


15.00 – 15.30 Focused interventions is increasing female participation in HE

Sean Harris, Development Manager, BUCS

Charlie Mascall – Sport Development Officer – University of Surrey

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Sean will present on the impact BUCS Active has made and key methods projects have used within the HE sector.Team Surrey will present alongside BUCS and have worked within BUCS Active, with the help of BUCS and focused on female participation. They will be covering what they have done to increase female participation across their campus, with the utilisation of Surrey Sports Park. Charlie will be sharing his insights on the provision that has been in place at the University, and how he plans to develop a sustainable approach towards female participation.

Sean Harris is a Development Manager at BUCS, leading on all the Sport England funded projects. Sean had previously worked within a County FA covering a number of roles within the Football Development Team.

Charlie Mascall is the Sport Development Officer at the University of Surrey. His focus is on engaging students in positive and physically active experiences that add value to students physical and mental wellbeing.


15.30 – 16.00 The importance of preventing girls from falling ‘out of love’ with sport and exercise

Kate Nicholson, Head of Insight and Innovation, Women in Sport

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The need to engage girls in more active lifestyles has never been more urgent. This generation of teenagegirls are experiencing worrying mental health issues and report being less happy, more anxious andincreasingly dissatisfied with their appearance.At the same time, our insight shows that during adolescence girls are losing their love of sport at an alarmingrate, and ruling themselves out rather than in. We know when girls are active, they are healthier and happierand for many girls, a negative start point will continue to act as a significant psychological barrier throughoutlife. We will examine the need to break this cycle early in the process and the importance of looking at sportand exercise through a gendered lens, highlighting the complex barriers that influence enjoyment, confidenceand participation, and inspiring more targeted and effective solutions.


16.00 – 16.15 Conclusion and finish