The 2018 calendar year has been another positive period for female football in Guernsey, as the Guernsey FA (GFA) continues the programme to grow the game and work towards Goal21 and beyond.
The start of the 2015/16 season signified the GFA’s commitment to developing female football in the island, with the appointment of Guernsey’s first Women & Girls Football Development Officer, Joelle Pengelley. That appointment has led to a yearly increase in the development programme for girls and the last twelve months has seen extensive delivery across various areas with numerous sessions delivered in female only environments. The extensive programme of delivery has only been possible through the specific support of generous and valued partners, Ravenscroft, Deloitte and Mourant.
For girls aged 5-11, there has never been as many opportunities to get involved in the game, either through school based sessions or the Ravenscroft Player Development Centre (RPDC). When reflecting on the success of the RPDC, Joelle commented that:
‘We are now into the third year of the Ravenscroft Player Development Centre and the growth we have seen in the number of young, enthusiastic girls attending these weekly sessions has been remarkable. From starting with less than 20 girls, the RPDC now has over 55 girls that are registered, attending regularly and have received their identifiable purple training kit for being committed and attending a minimum of ten sessions. The growth and interest has been so positive that a second RPDC has been added to our programme this year and we now offer weekly sessions on Mondays from 4.00pm-5.00pm at St Sampsons High and also on Wednesdays from 3.30pm-4.30pm at Styx Community Centre. Through the fantastic support of Ravenscroft, these sessions are free to attend and we continue to welcome new girls with an interest in participating in the sport.’
Throughout 2018, the GFA has delivered over 275 hours of girls only school based sessions to over 500 different participants. Through the specific support of ‘Community Partner’, Deloitte, the GFA has ensured that children in ten different local primary schools have had the opportunity to participate in either lunch or after-school clubs. Joelle reflected on the primary schools based delivery and added:
‘It is with the support of the teachers within the schools that helps provide the opportunity for girls to take part in free sessions to experience football and for some of them it is for the very first time. However, these sessions are only possible in the first place because of the on-going support that long-time GFA partner, Deloitte, continues to provide to community football initiatives. Through this support, the GFA has provided these opportunities that we hope will inspire young girls to become involved with football outside of the school environment and create future female footballers.
‘In addition, we have also delivered Guernsey’s first school based Wildcats Centre at Hautes Capelles Primary School, with this delivery programme to be extended in 2019 as five local primary schools will host Centres, whilst Vale Infants hosted the first Active Literacy sessions as part of a plan to not only introduce girls to football itself, but also to support general literacy, physical literacy and development. As part of The FA’s Primary Playgrounds scheme, the National Literacy Trust have worked with the FA to create the new Active Literacy programme. Specially-written stories are used to develop young girls’ fundamental movement skills, leadership skills and confidence, whilst also motivating them to read for enjoyment. These sessions are less football based and are more about getting the girls exploring movements and working as a team to overcome the challenges within the books. The girls at Vale Infants in Year 1 and 2 have had great fun during their Friday lunch club and, exploring the stories of Dragon Island, the girls have had to use their creativity and work together to overcome the challenges set in the books. The favourite part of Dragon Island for the girls at Vale was the Dolphin Disco session where the girls had to create their own dances and copy a partner and we are looking forward to increasing delivery of this programme in more schools during 2019.’
The opportunity for girls in secondary schools to enjoy participating has also been consistently available throughout 2018, with sessions delivered in five schools. Most recently, Joelle has been supporting La Mare de Carteret High School with delivery of Girls Games lessons using small sided games as a learning opportunity for the girls in Year 7-9, which has provided them with the opportunity to play in teams and develop the fundamental skills for football during a game situation as well as learning game understanding using the application of rules and tactics. The level of ability on display during the games lessons has been very positive and the commitment of the girls to trying something new has been great to see. The girls at La Mare De Carteret, along with those at all other secondary schools, are afforded the opportunity to attend the Mourant Girls Academy.
Joelle highlighted the positive growth in the Mourant Girls Academy in 2018 when commenting:
‘The Mourant Girls Academy is now in full swing, growing in both numbers and quality with the girls developing as individuals as well as members of a team. The new partnership with Mourant has been a really positive outcome in 2018, and has enabled the girls in the Academy to visit Jersey and play at Springfield Stadium against the Jersey Centre of Excellence where they were able to showcase their talent in two age groups. It was a great experience for the girls and from that we are continuing to build on the foundations of the Academy, aiming to achieve great things in the near future. We have also enhanced the training opportunities for those in the Mourant Academy with the introduction of a new Futsal element, which has proven to be very popular with the girls and has helped to develop technical skills.’
Joelle concluded here review of 2018, with thoughts for the year ahead:
‘Moving into 2019, Girls football is Guernsey is in a very positive position and the GFA is looking forward to another year of engaging with many young girls and continuing to shape the future of female Football on the island. We are grateful for the on-going support of our partners, Ravenscroft, Deloitte and Mourant, without which we could not deliver the extensive range of opportunities that are supporting a growth in female football that we hope will create a sustainable future.’
For more information about football opportunities for girls in Guernsey, please contact Women & Girls Development Officer, Joelle Pengelley:
Email – Joelle.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel – 01481 200443