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Club News


24 January 2014

Gills launch new scheme aimed at increasing participation in female football

Gillingham FC Community Trust are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Football League Trust to roll out a brand new scheme targeted at boosting participation in female football in and around Medway.

In a new joint initiative, The FA, Premier League and The Football League have joined forces to provide investment of over £2.4 million over the next two years from Sport England funding, of which the Community Trust here at Gillingham Football Club have received a share of to deliver a host of season-long coaching programmes across Medway and Kent, as part of the FA’s goal to reach over 40,000 new female players.

The brand new Female Football Development plan is specifically targeted at increasing participation in football for girls and women between the ages of 14-25, and shall be headed by Gillingham Girls Centre of Excellence Manager, Henry Willard.

The plan shall see up to eight fun, individual one hour coaching sessions launched at different schools and venues on a weekly basis, over three 10-week blocks, with the aim of reaching out to a minimum of 15 participants per session.

The Female Football Development plan was launched this week at Fort Pitt Grammar School to a great reception, with further sessions due to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Upon the launch of the inaugural session this week, Willard commented, “I am absolutely delighted that we have received the funding to roll out the FA’s Female Football Development programme in and around Medway, and support the growth of women’s football across the country.

“The Gillingham Football Club brand is a huge part of our community, and it’s wonderful to be able to introduce a new audience to both the game, and our club.”

Henry went on to say, “The FA have recognized that despite excellent interest in football from girls in their early teens, participation significantly decreases after the age of 14.

“The aim is to get those numbers up, and we have already received great interest and support in the scheme from Secondary Schools across Medway and Kent, as far out as Sevenoaks, who we shall work closely with over the coming months to roll out free coaching sessions to girls in year nine and above, who up until now have had very limited opportunities to try out football in an enjoyable, relaxed environment.”

Nicol Meredith, who is the National Women’s and Girls’ Football Development Project Coordinator for the Football League Trust also said, “The Football League Trust Female Football Development programme is a powerful initiative in which we are pleased to be part of.

“The new programme will not only give many more young women the opportunity to try football, but allow the Community Scheme to engage in an innovative way.”

In addition to the new Female Football Development programme, Gillingham Football Club Community Trust shall once again be delivering their immensely popular Soccer Schools throughout the February half-term, including a free girls-only session on Wednesday 19th February at Beechings Cross Training Ground, which is aimed at 5-11 year old girls.

For all Soccer School dates and details, please click here.

For further information regarding the Female Football Development programme, or if you are a Secondary School in Medway or Kent interested in participating, please contact Gillingham FC Women’s & Girls Development Officer, Henry Willard at

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