Six Premier League (PL) and English Football League (EFL) clubs have come together to empower young women and girls by creating a Youth voice forum that aims to give the young people of today the chance to shape community-focused activity in their local area.
The Female Ambassador Forum was piloted during the COVID-19 lockdown as part of the Premier League Kicks programme. PL Kicks was launched 14-years ago and has a long history of using the power of football and the value of sports participation, to help youngsters in some of the most high-need areas of England and Wales.
The programme aims to engage young people in regular positive and fun experiences in safe and supportive community environments. Involving young people in the design and delivery of future activities and supporting them to create positive change, enables Club Community Organisations (CCOs) to develop future social action opportunities across PL Kicks.
The first session saw young representatives aged 14-18 years who had previously attend PL Kicks from; Arsenal in the Community, Bournemouth AFC Community Sports Trust, Fulham FC Foundation, Palace for Life Foundation, Saints Foundation and Watford FC Community Sports & Education Trust (the Trust).
This platform created for young people provides a space for them to express their challenges and share solutions to tackle issues faced across sport and society and stimulate positive and proactive change.
Amelie, the PL Kicks representative from the Trust said;
“The Female Ambassador Forum gave the chance for young women to have their voices heard. It was a new, inspiring, and an exciting experience”
The young people will be consulted on topics such as the best environment to host football as well as, identifying a diverse range of activities that may encourage girls and young women to take part and how best to market to a young audience in various mediums.
The Forum has added great value for those CCOs involved as they start to learn more about the experiences of local young people and strive to continue to build stronger, safer and more inclusive communities.
Karen Stephanou, EDI Strategic Lead at Watford FC CSE Trust and Chair of the Women and Girls Club South Group gave her thoughts on the forum;
“It was great to hear from young females on the sessions they take part in, how we can engage more young females into the PL Kicks programme and the best way to create an audience through our social media sites. The confidence the young females brought to the call with some fantastic ideas showcases that with the use of voice forums we can build on the great work we are already doing through the PL Kicks programme.”
As well as virtual youth voice sessions, a celebration event is planned for May 2021, with the young ambassadors taking a lead role in planning and delivering the event.