The Football League Trust is proud to launch the Female Football Development programme (FFD) throughout England in 2014. Set to play an integral role in the progression of the Women's and Girls' game, The Trust shall drive participation growth and retention, as it delivers thousands of free FFD sessions via its network of Football League club, community schemes.
54 clubs will deliver FFD sessions aimed at 14 to 25-year-olds with Level 2 qualified coaches and above, in cohesion with County FAs, Schools, Colleges and Universities to engage with fresh participants, as part of the new FA Women's and Girls' programme. The programme presents an investment of over £2.4million in the next two years from Sport England funding, and aims to reach over 40,000 new players.
The Football League Trust's FFD programme is a pivotal part of this, distributing £547,000 across the country, with an ambitious target to reach 14,760 new female players. FFD's challenge, to account for over a third of The FA's aims, in supporting the goal to make Women's Football the second largest team sport in the country behind men's football, is one which The Trust is relishing.
Nicol Meredith, National Women's and Girls' Football Project Co-ordinator, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity; the magnetism of our club badges within local communities matched with the passion of our coaches presents a solid foundation to deliver engaging FFD sessions. The Trust will embrace this chance, taking great pride in helping to make The FA national female goal a reality."
Mike Evans, General Manager of The Football League Trust, added: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with The FA and Sport England on Female Football Development. A large number of our 72 trusts already deliver women's and girls' football to a very high standard, but this additional funding will allow more trusts to get involved, and allow us to service the demand that we know is out there to get more females into the game."
FFD sessions aim to provide a relaxed and welcoming football environment, with a key focus on Fun, Fitness and Friendship.
Nicol Meredith added: "Whether it's literally your first kick of a football or you're ready to ease your way back into playing pressure free, give it a go. The social aspect plays a huge part; it's about having a laugh with friends or people who soon will be, as team sport creates a unique bond between people from diverse backgrounds, helping to develop character, and skills transferable beyond the game.
"For those disillusioned by fitness, with tedious treadmills and heavy gym fees, FFD sessions offer a refreshing change, putting fun back into keeping healthy."
For those who fall in love with the game for the first time, or all over again, there a numerous pathways into the sport across Football League clubs. Whether you wish to excel in playing, from grassroots to elite, combine playing with education, or become a coach that inspires the future generation: FFD is a foundation to go further.