‘She Inspires’ football tournament held on International Women’s Day

It’s just over eight months since the first ‘She Inspires’ festival was held and today, International Women’s Day, has seen almost 260 girls from 19 schools across Merseyside compete for the ‘She Inspires’ shield.

The tournament of 19 matches being played across the day, is a fantastic initiative which aims to inspire young girls into further education, apprenticeships, and employment. It is designed to build their confidence and realise their potential both on and off the pitch.

The ‘She Inspires’ programme sees weekly coaching sessions delivered in schools by LFC Foundation and Everton in the Community.

Each term, over 180 sessions are delivered to schools across Merseyside, with participants given the opportunity to earn recognised and fully funded qualifications in coaching and refereeing, designed to equip them with vital skills to boost their self-esteem and help them in life including leadership, mentoring, coaching, peer support, and teamwork.

The programme was initially launched by Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy and Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell in March 2022 to mark International Women’s Day.

It reached more than 120 young women, aged between 15 and 18, and culminated in an exciting finale at the Jeffrey Humble in Aintree, attended by Liverpool FC Women’s player Missy Bo Kearns.

The initiative was so successful it was nominated for Innovation in the Women and Girls Football category at the 2022 National County FA awards in recognition of its work to improve grassroots football, encourage new players and inspiring existing ones at Wembley Stadium in November.

The event will also look to inspire young women to consider a career in policing or the fire service through a range of displays from Merseyside Police’s Matrix, Mounted and Dogs teams, Merseyside Fire and Rescue’s RTC unit, and Roads Policing with a special appearance from an Alpine A110 sports car.

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy KPM said, “The success of the programme is testament to the power of collaborative partnership working and the passion of everyone involved. I’m proud to be able to support initiatives like this that give more opportunities to young people in our communities.

“Positive activities like this prove vital in increasing the girls’ confidence, improving communication skills, developing teamwork and more importantly inspiring them to believe in themselves so that they can be whatever they want to be.”

Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell said, “It’s been a privilege to see the progress on and off the pitch of the many talented young women involved in our She Inspires programme.

“The initiative has come a long way since we launched it two years ago. We’re already seeing significant improvements in the confidence, resilience and self-esteem of the young women undertaking our school sessions.

“Our goal through this partnership programme is to open doors and encourage young women across our region to believe they can achieve whatever they want. As we mark International Women’s Day, I’m proud that our first tournament will reach and inspire even more young women across our region.”

Ant Harden, Youth and Support Senior Lead at Everton in the Community, said, “We’re proud to have played a role in supporting so many young women from across Merseyside into playing football, whilst also helping to equip them with vital skills to boost their self-esteem and confidence and help them in life.

“Good luck to everyone taking part today – each and everyone of you is helping inspire other young girls that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.”

Karl Carney, Sport & Football Department Manager at LFC Foundation, said, “We’re delighted to be delivering our first ‘She Inspires Football Tournament’ in partnership with Merseyside Police, EiTC & Liverpool County FA as part of the award-winning She Inspires Programme.  

“We are extremely passionate about providing a range of opportunities for our female participants to develop holistically, both on and off the pitch, including workshop sessions focusing on leadership, self-esteem, empowerment, team-work and confidence. 

“Engaging with 260 girls as part of the She Inspires Shield is fantastic and has seen significant growth from last year’s festival, with our total reach of over 750 girls over the course of the programme to date. Our aim is to continue to work with more girls each year to provide a springboard of opportunity for as many girls in Merseyside as possible.”

Executive Officer of Liverpool FA, Anthony Smithadded, “It’s fantastic to see the ongoing growth of this project over the past couple of years; coupled with the commitment of our team, our range of stakeholders within Merseyside Police, LFC Foundation, Everton in The Community and the wider network and the incredible direction that Women’s sport continues to take.

“Safe, fun and encouraging places for young women to fall in love with the game is a key part of Liverpool FA’s strategy and the ‘She Inspires’ programme is a pivotal part of that. We look forward to welcoming the full group to LCFA Sefton for this tournament, and what a wonderful way for us to mark International Women’s Day and the growth of the game FOR ALL.”

Ian Thewlis, Local Team Leader for the Rapid Relief Team said, “We’re delighted to be supporting this wonderful programme once again. This is the third event of its kind we’ve been a part of, and we’re proud to again be playing a role towards its success.

“At the Rapid Relief Team, a charity made up of volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, we are committed to supporting our local communities. The ‘She Inspires’ event is a wonderful occasion that helps and inspire so many young women from across Merseyside.

“With 11 of our volunteers set to provide nutritious hot food and drinks on the day, we look forward to being part of this important event to mark International Women’s Day.”

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