Sporting chance for women in disadvantaged areas

WOMEN living in disadvantaged areas of north Hull are about to get better access to sport thanks to a £300,000 National Lottery grant.

The money follows research that showed that locally only 10 per cent of women were taking part in 30 minutes of activities three times a week, compared to 27 per cent of men.

Sports co-ordinators will be employed to encourage women to take up sport and become volunteers themselves to keep activities going in the future.

Hull Council, which is leading the project, is looking to revive the Hull Mums' Netball League and provide more local activities for women who are prescribed exercise by their GP. As well as providing more subsidised or free activities including fitness, aerobics, swimming and badminton, women will also be helped with childcare.

The three-year programme will be rolled out in Bransholme, Orchard Park and Greenwood in partnership with local children's centres and health services.

Rachel Roberts, Hull Council's Assistant Head of Service for Sports Development, said women were prepared to take part in annual events like Race for Life as a one-off.

"There's motivation there, it's just unlocking some of that motivation," she said.

The project is one of 20 backed as part of Sport England's 10m Active Women campaign to tackle the gender gap in sport.

Jennie Price, Sport England's Chief Executive, said: "For many women with children or those managing a tight budget, sport – and time to themselves – can slip down the list of priorities.

"The projects we're funding today have asked local women what is stopping them from getting involved and what sports interest them, before coming up with an offer that is appealing and accessible."

It is supported by top badminton player Gail Emms, who won World Championship Gold and Olympic Silver medals. Gail, who became a mother nine months ago, said: "As a new mum, I know only too well how difficult it can be to make time for yourself and to get out there and play sport.

"The projects receiving investment from Sport England will make a big difference because they've really thought through the challenges women face in becoming regular sports participants."