Our 2017/18 programme of activity
AFC Leyton is a non-profit community football club that operates exclusively for girls.
In the last 12 months we have heavily focused on the local community to get younger girls active.
Why is this important?
Boys are already benefiting from the inherent skill set that they gather on the sports fields of their schools, and have carried them through into the boardrooms of businesses. Girls must be given the same opportunity to collect the same skills – through perceived male dominated activities.
Statistically young female footballers reported higher levels of confidence, self-esteem, wellbeing, and motivation than girls who play no sport at all. More powerfully, the results from this study showed that young girls who play football also reported higher scores than those girls who play other sports. Crucially, the benefits of playing football extend off the pitch as well. Female footballers confirm that football helped them to solve problems, deal with pressure at school/work, and feel empowered to overcome difficulties. The results make a compelling case: if you want girls to feel more confident, get them playing football.
What did we do?
AFC Leyton created a programme of activity for 2017-18 that targeted girls aged between 5 to 11 years (Primary aged children). By directly accessing schools, we gained access to all girls – including those girls who may be from ethnic communities that remain unaware of the footballing opportunities which exist, whilst also breaking down the barrier of cultural, religious and social norms.
Covering the costs of this programme in its thousands ourselves, we ran completely free in-school development sessions and ran Saturday morning and Wednesday evening free football sessions for children aged between 5 and 11 years – reaching thousands of children across the borough. These sessions enabled children to get fit, meet new friends, learn new skills, gain confidence and encourage them to be more active in their general lives. Many children attending these free sessions have continued with the club.
We also introduced a new bursary programme for children who have moderate to strong football skills but could not otherwise afford to participate in high quality sports coaching. This includes single parent discounts, sibling discounts and free training for children on free school meals.
Over all, our programme has been a resounding success, improving the life chances of girls within Waltham Forest.