Groundbreaking Galway girls’ panel to tackle obstacles to sports participation

Groundbreaking Galway girls’ panel to tackle obstacles to sports participation

Only 7% of teenage girls get their recommended daily amount of activity but in Galway a new panel is being established with the aim of changing that statistic.

Galway Sports Partnership (GSP) is launching the first part of its female strategy.

This brand new initiative -the first of its kind in Ireland – will see the establishment of a Girls’ Panel geared at to helping to understand and then overcome the barriers to girls participating in physical activity and sport.

Participating in sport and physical activity provides multiple benefits for physical and mental health, and for potential quality of life. However, women and girls have long been an underrepresented group in sport and teenage girls in particular take part in sport and physical activity far less than the national average in Ireland.

According to new research released by Sport Ireland, evidence suggests participation plummets during adolescence with a shocking 7% of girls age 14-15 years meeting recommended physical activity levels. Girls who are active in their teenage years and develop a love of sport are much more likely to establish a life-long relationship with sport and exercise in adulthood.

Adolescence is a critical life-stage and these formative years are when attitudes and behaviours are established that shape the women they will become.

The GSP’s Girls Panel will be brought together once a month to discuss the challenges facing their age group with regards physical activity wellbeing and sport; take part in facilitated sessions with GSP on how to engage teenage girls correctly and effectively; present ideas to GSP on how to solve and remove these barriers; work closely with GSP to deliver initiatives to their peers as well as raising awareness of the opportunities out there for all girls to take part in.

This programme will include workshops, speakers, webinars and taster sessions from the best providers in Galway for sports, physical activity and wellbeing.

The panel will be broken into two age categories; 12 – 15 years old and 16 to 19 years old.

Each group will be made up of 12 girls representing a modern Galway city and county.

GSP is encouraging all teenage girls to get involved and have their voice heard, especially those from remote, Gaeltacht or disadvantaged areas.

There will also be a place reserved on each group for a teenage girl with disabilities to ensure every part of our society is heard.

The formation of this panel presents an opportunity for girls to be heard by those making decisions in sport, wellbeing and physical activity in Galway, to learn new skills and meet new people.

Each girl will be provided with smart technology, sports clothing and some Galway Sports Partnership goodies as a thank you for taking part.

Girls that apply for the panel will be asked for an informal interview where GSP will talk through the opportunities presented and how the girls will be contributing to the most significant and important work of GSP in the coming year.

The panel will run from September 2021 to April 2022 and will include two away days for team building and exercise.

Catering will be provided for all involved.

Each girl that will take part in this panel will be having a say in how GSP shapes its programmes, initiatives and participation campaigns in the future for teenage girls in Galway.

They will get opportunities to learn valuable life skills, take part in webinars, seminars and learn from the most inspiring women in sport in Galway.

For more information regarding GSP’s inaugural Girls’ Panel, please see Galway Sports Partnership Facebook page or email galwayactive@galwaycoco.ie

For more information on supports for children and young people click HERE.