This category has been kindly sponsored by Inclusion@Lloyd’s.
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AVIVA WOMEN’S TOUR
The Women’s Tour changed the landscape for women’s bike racing through its professional organisation, unprecedented media coverage and exceptional engagement with the local community.
When the Women’s Tour was planned the organisers, SweetSpot, were told that there had never been a successful standalone women’s sporting event in the UK and a road cycling race would never work.
Undaunted, they drove the event forward and it succeeded beyond everyone’s dreams. An estimated 350,000 spectators attended the races over the 5 days, with 10 hours of coverage on ITV4 and a total audience of over 1 million viewers.
Every rider and team attending agreed the race set a new bar for professional women’s road cycling races, with inspiring riding that thrilled spectators. Riders described it as an “Olympic-level” atmosphere, proving that everyone who said “there’s no audience for women’s cycling” was wrong!
Alongside the professional racing, the event encouraged hundreds of local events with opportunities for clubs and rides, including Breeze Rides and Sky Rides, to engage with spectators. The event engaged with over 200 schools, with pro teams attending schools to deliver events and encourage activity.
While bike racing is known for going through beautiful landscapes, SweetSpot, ensured the race included deprived areas and those with health inequalities, deliberately targeting these areas where cycling could make a difference.
The Women’s Tour has changed the landscape for women’s bike racing.
parkrun was founded in the UK in 2004 and has gone from strength to strength. The event is a free, weekly, timed run that takes place in a park on a Saturday morning and is run by volunteers.
parkrun aims to have an event in every community that wants one and is increasing its membership every year. It has also recently introduced a junior parkrun – a shorter distance aimed at children.
One of the main aims is to be open and inclusive to all who want to run – women and men, girls and boys. This is reflected each week at the event briefing where new and visiting runners are welcomed by the whole field. 52% of people completing their first 5k parkrun this year were female runners, joggers or walkers.
With reliance on local volunteers, parkrun has become an important community event and has encouraged many to run who wouldn’t normally try. Volunteers and marshals are thanked by the runners and the appointed tail-runner ensures no one is left behind or forgotten. The timing marshals and core team do not move until the last person has crossed the line and everyone gets equal support – whatever their ability.
This is unusual and innovative and hasn’t been seen before in grassroots sport.
US GIRLS STREETGAMES
Us Girls is a national programme designed by StreetGames to increase and sustain young women’s participation in sport, fitness and exercise in some of the nation’s most disadvantaged communities.
Us Girls uses the key message #funfitnessfriends to eradicate some of the barriers which prevent inactive girls accessing local activity provision. Successful practices include female-only sessions, lifestyle role models, reward schemes, wellbeing and confidence inspiring activities, opportunities to lead and attend Us Girls Rocks festivals and events.
Us Girls has a proven track record of encouraging young women and girls to get active. In the last 12 months over 65,000 females have been engaged in the programme. Recent focus has been on developing Us Girls Activity Hubs to facilitate localised collaborations that will benefit disadvantaged women and girls.
Us Girls works across a range of sectors including community, leisure, housing and further education. For example over 50 colleges are delivering Us Girls to engage their inactive and non-sporty female students who are not attracted to more traditional sporting offers.
In addition Us Girls CLUB1 aims to get girls to take part in individual activities such as jogging, cycling, swimming and exercise classes; ultimately preparing them to be active independently. Us Girls CLUB1 has attracted over 1,800 girls in the last 12 months.