A local school sports initiative aimed at teenage girls has been recognised by a leading UK community sports awards scheme after receiving funding from UK Steel Enterprise.

Cardinal Newman High School’s ‘Fit For Girls’ programme received £2,500 from UKSE to kit out the group’s 90 members with new sports gear, including branded tracksuits and tops.

The club was nominated for the Outstanding Sports Award at the Community Education Awards and received a ‘highly commended’ recommendation.

The national awards showcase schools from all over the UK, recognising efforts from schools to help children become responsible members of their community.

Fit For Girls provides extra-curricular activities, such as netball, hockey and dance, to girls aged 13 to 17. As part of the programme, the girls also work closely with local primary schools to encourage active lifestyles and overall wellbeing among their pupils. The kit, which UKSE’s funding provided, allows the team to be easily identifiable in the school and wider community.

In addition to encouraging involvement in sport, the club inspires participants to become strong role models. To join, pupils must demonstrate a commitment to academic study, good behaviour and a strong school attendance rate.

The programme has been a huge success, driving the female uptake for National Qualifications in physical education at the school from 35% to 65%.

Laura Ferguson, Fit For Girls co-ordinator, said: “Sport provides a positive opportunity and outlet for young people’s growth and development, and since starting the programme more than six years ago, we have seen an improvement in academic results and general attendance at school.

“We are so grateful to UKSE for providing our fantastic uniform, giving us an identity as a club.”

Scott Webb, regional executive at UKSE said: “It’s great news that the Fit For Girls scheme was highly commended in its category. After supporting them with their uniforms back in 2017, the team have gone from strength to strength.

“Getting children into both team and individual sports can enhance their overall experience at school, whilst teaching them the fundamentals of adult life. We are very proud to support such a fantastic initiative and wish them the very best of luck in the future.”

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