Agenda item


The Director of Public Health submits a presentation on the current best practice for women’s participation in sport in the city.


The Director of Public Health submitted a presentation to the Commission on the current best practice for women’s participation in sport in the city.


Councillor Clair, the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Regulatory Services, introduced the item. It was noted that the project had inspired Leicester’s leisure centres, which now provide women’s only classes and physical activity sessions.


The Sport and Physical Activity Manager and Sport and Active Recreation Development Manager relayed Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign presentation to the Commission, which aimed to inspire and encourage women to participate in sporting and leisure activities.


During the presentation, attention was drawn to:


·       The project would be delivered in three phases based on the three main objectives.

·       Phase 1 had brought the initiatives directly to women instead of expecting women to travel to them. The campaign had 95 million views worldwide and had brought £66 million to the economy.

·       Phase 2 aimed to increase resilience, which had brought 700,000 followers on social media, with 50% of 40-60’s recognising at least one of their adverts.

·       Phase 3 aimed to challenge and overcome cultural barriers. It was noted that the results of phase 3 would be presented to the Commission once they had been published.


The Commission praised the presentation and commended the efforts to encourage more women’s involvement in sports activities.


Members discussed the Council’s investment in the sporting and leisure sector and questioned how residents could be encouraged to increase participation and the steps taken to achieve those aims. It was noted that the situation was complex as despite the opportunities and facilities offered, public commitments could interfere with further involvement. The campaign to dispel myths and barriers had been successful in reducing barriers to participation.


Members contemplated the difference in stereotyped perception of non-participating groups and how to best challenge those perceptions, for example, women using weights at a gym.


Regarding the Wycliff Initiative – Active Through Football, which was a five-year series of funded, women’s only football sessions in Wycliffe ward for women aged between 18 and 49. Concerns were raised over its April/May start date coinciding with Ramadan, and the impact on the female population of certain cultural groups taking part. Members also requested clarified targets for participation over the project’s time period.


Members questioned the intention behind limiting the project to Wycliffe ward, to which it was noted that the pilot area was decided upon due to funding and targeting areas of Leicester with higher deprivation rates. The location wouldn’t exclude women travelling to join from different areas of Leicester, and the five-year pilot period would be a period in which to learn from before possible expansion into other areas.


There was confusion among Members about the boundaries of the ward, which wasn’t a defined ward geographically, but a political boundary. The comment was noted by the Sport’s Services Officers and was to be considered for future reports.



1.    That the report be noted.

2.    That the Council increase publicity and raise awareness of Leisure and Sport facilities on offer across the city.

3.    That the results of Phase 3 be presented to the Commission upon completion.

4.    That the impact of the chosen April/May date and clarified targets for participation over the project time period regarding the Wycliff Initiative be presented to the Commission at a future meeting.

5.    That the item be used to inform the ongoing task group review.


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