I have spent another busy month planning the delivery of my women and girls’ competitions, which has been a period of learning and growing professionally. I am extremely proud to have delivered the Durham Women and Girls 1* as it was the first of its kind in the North of England, which you can read more about here. The event allowed me to connect with players and for those who entered to enjoy the sport while playing with friends and new people.

However, one observation that I made, was how few girls (u19s) entered. I initially noticed this when the entries were rolling in, so when I looked down the ranking list to see what players might be interested, I realised how few girls are actually competing. As an Area Manager, it has highlighted to me how I need to encourage clubs to push the recruitment of girls (e.g., hosting girls-only under-11 sessions) and to create environments where girls will thrive and be inspired.

Durham County Rugby have a fast-paced and growing under-12 girls’ section, they have produced an inspiring video to promote girls’ rugby and its benefits. You can view the video below. From watching this video, try to reflect on what you are currently doing in your clubs to get more girls under 12 playing, start conversations in your club on how you can drive participation and put together an action plan on how you will make this happen – and if you want support, please get in contact.

Need some funding to get a project started?

County Durham Community Foundationopen to sports clubs and grassroots organisations who are trying to increase participation in sport or sustain participation. The grants are from £1,000-2,000, and the next panel will be in June, so funding is likely to reopen again soon.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissionerfunds can be awarded for specific projects that can help your community feel safe. The fund can support projects that are for children and young people; that improve community cohesion, prevent crime and anti-social behaviour; and can support the purchase of specific pieces of equipment in key community locations. It funds from £500 up to £20,000. You can view projects that have previously been funded here

South Yorkshire’s Community FoundationThe Sheffield Legacy Fund is for Grassroots community organisations within a three-mile radius of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, who are looking to support people through providing physical and mental health and wellbeing activities. This grant is up to £1,000.

South Yorkshire’s Community FoundationThe Community Grants Foundation will not open until the 10th June but is open for groups based in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. It funds up to £5,000, which would need to be spent within one year and is intended to support smaller community groups and organisations who are trying to focus on: education and learning, physical and mental health, social isolation and supporting people with disabilities.

Sport NewcastleThis funding is for clubs located in Tyne and Wear and must be a ‘not for profit’ organisation. The award grants for up to £1,000 and funding can be used for equipment, travel expenses, event organisation, coaching, dealing with the negative impact of the cost of living.

Two Ridings Community FoundationThis funding is for community organisations, small charities or ‘not for profit’ organisations based in York, North Yorkshire, Hull and East Riding. The funding is for up to £500 and must be used to support young people aged between 11-19 from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Applying for funding can be tricky, and frustrating when you are unsuccessful. Here are some tips for when you are applying for funding:

  • Write out a project plan, including things such as; location, times and dates, income and expenditure, workforce needed, how you will make the project sustainable. Download your session planning template here
  • Make sure you read the guidance documents and criteria. Go through and write down how you fulfil each of the criteria.
  • Give yourself enough time to complete the application, gather evidence and time for feedback.
  • See if you can get a meeting with the funder and see how they can help/ support you.
  • Have a why! Why is your project important? Who will it impact?

If you are intending to apply for funding, then please reach out for support.