Campaign getting girls into sport hosts Copper Box fitness session

Josie Gibson launched a new national fitness campaign at the Copper Box Arena entitled 'For the Girl

Josie Gibson launched a new national fitness campaign at the Copper Box Arena entitled 'For the Girls'. - Credit: Archant

An innovative campaign to attract more young women into sport kicked off with a fitness session at the Copper Box Arena last week, led by an Olympic finalist and a former Big Brother winner.

The 'For the Girls' campaign aims to encourage more women and girls aged 14yrs - 25yrs to take regul

The 'For the Girls' campaign aims to encourage more women and girls aged 14yrs - 25yrs to take regular physical activity and is funded by Sport England and charitable Social Enterprise 'Better'. - Credit: Archant

“For the Girls” hopes to encourage 5,000 girls and women aged between 14 and 25, with no background of physical activity, to take part in a range of sports over the coming 18 months.

The programme will support girls at a local level across the south East, helping them design individual exercise programmes from cheer-leading to boxing and basketball to street dance.

Bristol-born Josie Gibson, 29, was overweight from the age of six, but became a fitness instructor after winning the 2010 series of Big Brother – losing six stone and dropping 10 sizes in the space of a year.

After leading a group of local college girls through a session of aerobics to highlight the campaign on Wednesday, she spoke about the importance of getting a ctive.


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“I always wanted to shift the pounds but I just couldn’t find anything that worked,” she said. “The biggest challenge for me was self-doubt.

“When you’re 17-and-a-half stone you start thinking ‘have I gone too far?’ ‘Will I ever be able to get rid of this weight?’

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“I’d really encourage anyone feeling the same to get out there and try a few sports, find something you like and just enjoy yourself.”

The campaign came to fruition after recent research found 80pc of women are not doing enough exercise, while female participation in sports is still significantly lower than men, particularly in deprived areas and among 14 to 19-year-olds

Funded by Sporta and Sport England, the £200,000 scheme will be delivered by charitable social enterprise and leisure operator Better (GLL).

Former long-jumper Jade Johnson, who finished seventh at the 2008 Beijing Olympics six years after winning a Commonwealth silver medal in Manchester, has spent the past few months encouraging girls to get active.

“It was always going to be hard for me to find something different I was passionate and motivated about after retiring, but even if I can only get one girl interested, I feel that this is my purpose,” she said.

Visit better.org.uk for more information about the campaign

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