National praise for Fit For Girls school initiative

UKSE's Scott Webb with members of the Fit for Girls team
UKSE's Scott Webb with members of the Fit for Girls team

A Bellshill initiative aimed at teenage girls has been recognised by a leading UK community sports awards scheme.

Cardinal Newman High’s ‘Fit For Girls’ programme 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.

Last year UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) provided £2500 to kit out the group’s 90 members with new sports gear, including branded tracksuits and tops, which allow 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 per cent to 65 per cent.

Laura Ferguson, Fit For Girls coordinator, 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, added: “ “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.”