Active Girls Committee with Cllr Jenny Laing

An Aberdeen initiative, aiming to level the playing field for young girls in sport, this week welcomed Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing to witness their pioneering work first-hand.

Councillor Jenny Laing attended the Active Girls Committee (AGC) meeting where it was revealed that 73% of a previously inactive group has expressed a positive change in attitude towards sport since engaging with the group.

The AGC, put together by Sport Aberdeen’s Active Schools team, is run by girls from secondary schools across the city who are championing a move to get more young girls involved in sport and physical activity.

Local secondary pupils interested in joining the AGC were recently invited to attend a Sports Leaders UK, Women Get Set, Go! course, equipping them with leadership skills to help break down barriers and increase girls participation in sport.

Councillor Jenny Laing attended the meeting where she presented certificates to the girls who completed the course and was able to find out more about the expanding group taking it upon themselves to change young girl’s attitudes towards sport and physical activity in Aberdeen.

As a result of research undertaken earlier this year, where it was found that nearly six out of ten Aberdeen secondary school girls don’t take part in sport because they feel self-conscious, the AGC ran an ‘Active Girls Big Day Out’ in June.

The event welcomed around 400 girls from 15 different Aberdeen City Schools, offering a fresh approach to participation in sport.

The committee received feedback from 8 out of the 10 schools that attended the event. The results highlighted the following:

  • 33% of the girls who attended the event were currently inactive as they admitted they did not take part in any form of physical activity or sport. 

(All the below figures are based on this inactive group of girls)

  • 73% said that because of the ‘Girls Big Day Out’ their opinion on sport and physical activity had now changed.
  • 76% were made to feel confident throughout the event at each of the sessions.
  • 90% of these girls would like to see the activities which were covered at the event brought to their school’s extracurricular timetable.
  • 79% would now feel encouraged to try a new club /activity at their school.

Jo Bell, Sport Aberdeen’s Director for Sport and Active Lifestyles, said:

“Since the get go these girls have shown incredible commitment and passion towards increasing participation in sport and showcasing the positive, lifelong effects this can have. The very personal stories and impact of the girls’ individual journeys have been truly inspiring to others.

“These results, and the encouraging feedback, show that the levels of participation are on the increase, however this issue is still very much an uphill battle and for too long, participation levels plummet as girls make the transition from primary to secondary school.

“Sport Aberdeen is committed to creating opportunities for young people to take part in sport and physical activity, and this is another important step in the right direction. The Active Girls Committee are proving that they have the power to influence and support their peers and it is hugely important that we continue, as a whole, to break down barriers to girl’s participation in sport.”

Councillor Jenny Laing said:

“The Active Girls Committee has already demonstrated strong results and I look forward to watching the initiative grow and thrive.

“It was fantastic to meet the participants and the young people leading the project – it is inspiring to see so many girls engaging with sport in such a positive way.

“On behalf of Aberdeen City Council, I congratulate everyone who has played a part in the success of the Active Girls Committee.”

Active Girls Committee Chairperson, Aimee Work, said:

“Women Get Set Go course was a chance to improve and increase our confidence through leadership, communication and inclusion within the activities we were faced with.

“It has allowed us to connect as a committee, so that we can confidently produce ideas and take action within our schools. As a result of this we have bonded and are already making a huge difference in these schools, and hopefully will slowly, but surely, increase girl’s participation in sport.”