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Biggest ever girls' football festival held on International Women's Day to support #LetGirlsPlay campaign

St Helens Borough Council's Sports Development and Active Lives service helped kick-off International Women's Day celebrations today by hosting the biggest ever girls' football festival as part of a national initiative run by the Football Association (FA).

Girls' Football Festival

Article date: 8 March 2024

Held at Rainford High School, the event saw around 258 Y1 to Y6 pupils from 18 primary schools across the borough take part in three separate school-year tournaments for #LetGirlsPlay - the FA's campaign to support their strategic ambition to give all girls equal access to play football in school by 2024.

During the festival, more than 80 matches were played with more than 350 goals scored.

Hailing the event a success, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, Councillor Anthony Burns, said:

"Girls' football is thriving in our borough right now - whether it's linked to schools or out on our sports pitches on a weekend which sees hundreds of girls taking part for community clubs. It's great to see and a big win for us as a council in achieving goals set out in our active lives strategy to increase physical active levels as well as ensuring sport is inclusive for everyone.

"Well done to all the teams that took part and a big thank you to our Sports Development and Active Lives team for organising such a fantastic event which was played in the true spirit of the beautiful game on International Women's Day - with this year's theme fittingly being 'inspiring inclusion' which football and sport in general is looking to break down barriers to achieve."

Today's girls' football festival was just one of many events that will be organised by Sports Development and Active Lives during the academic year as part of its schools' games offer, and supports a council-backed motion brought to the town hall chamber in 2022 by Rainford ward councillor, Linda Mussell, to recognise the sporting achievements of women from St Helens borough in a bid to inspire and motivate other girls and women from the area.

Councillor Burns added: "As a borough, St Helens has often punched above its weight and led the way in sport throughout history. With that in mind, I'm delighted to announce that we will be honouring a number of St Helens borough-born sporting icons through a plaque scheme as part of Councillor Mussell's important motion which the council was happy to unanimously support."

More details of the plaque scheme, including recognised recipients, will be released in due course.

For more information on what programmes Sports Development and Active Lives offer in schools and for the wider community, visit:

To find a local girls' football team in your area, go to:

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Last modified on 08 March 2024