Over 150 young women rallied together on Saturday to compete in a major 7 a-side competition as part of the B Active summer showcase.
Inspired by the continued success of the Lionesses in France, more young women than ever took part in this year’s B Active tournament in Mile End. Now in its second year, B Active helps young people from disadvantaged areas access sport, physical activity and training through sessions on sport and health related issues such as diet, fitness and mental wellbeing. Young female footballer Rosie Kmita is also hoping that she can popularize football to women. She dreams to be an inspiration to girls like David Beckam was for boys.
In total, 340 young women have attended B Active through programmes running in North and South London – and a further 1,406 young women have been involved throughout the UK.
B Active programmes in Belfast, Hull, Manchester, Newport, North and South London are supported by Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS), one of the UK’s leading soft drinks manufacturers, and Active Communities Network, a charity promoting physical activity and vocational training. The programme is also part-funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
Through B Active, participants have been able to develop new skills, find employment opportunities and discover alternative routes to education, through vocational training. More than 80 North London participants are now volunteering in the local community, with 74% earning accredited qualifications through B Active.
B Active is building on the 4,000 young men and women already enrolled across the country, this year looking to drive greater participation among women, as social studies by Active Communities Network found women 16+ face the greatest barriers to entry.
Hanah Shire, 19-year-old B Active participant, said: “Sport was not a priority in my home, and I had never played football before joining B Active. I love how inclusive the programme is, it has helped me to discover a passion for sport and fitness that I never knew I had.”
The news comes as the England Lionesses take to the world stage for the FIFA Women’s World Cup supported by Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s leading sports brand, Lucozade Sport. Hoping to drive greater awareness of the women’s game, the England Lionesses have for the first time in history been placed on a limited-edition Lucozade Sport bottle as part of the company’s wider mission to inspire men and women through sport.
Michelle Norman, Head of External Affairs and Sustainability at Lucozade Ribena Suntory, commented: “At such an exciting time for women in sport, we were delighted to see so many young women come out to demonstrate their skills on the football pitch. Our B Active programme embodies Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s commitment to helping people in our communities lead a healthier, more active life – and today is all about showcasing the power of sport, and how it has helped us support thousands of young adults.”
This was the first of three B Active showcases taking place in London this summer before all the regional programmes come together in Manchester for the National B Active Summer Showcase on 22 August. The North London B Active men’s event will be held in Stonebridge on 26 July and the South London B Active women’s event in Southwark on 9 August.